Man­hunt for Ber­lin sus­pect in­ten­si­fies

Trump de­nounces at­tack, vows tough im­mi­gra­tion plan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Ber­lin

Ger­man au­thor­i­ties were un­der fire on Thurs­day af­ter it emerged that the prime sus­pect in Ber­lin’s deadly truck at­tack, a re­jected Tu­nisian asy­lum seeker, was known as a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ex­trem­ist.

Ger­man pros­e­cu­tors have is­sued a Europe-wide wanted no­tice for 24-year-old Anis Amri, of­fer­ing a $104,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to his arrest and warn­ing he “could be vi­o­lent and armed”.

Asy­lum of­fice pa­pers be­lieved to be­long to Amri, al­leged to have links to the ex­trem­ist scene, were found in the cab of the truck that rammed through a crowded Christ­mas mar­ket in Ber­lin on Mon­day, killing 11.

The twelfth vic­tim, the hi­jacked truck’s Pol­ish driver, was found shot in the cab.

Police on Wed­nes­day searched a refugee cen­ter in Em­merich, western Ger­many, where Amri stayed a few months ago, as well as two apart­ments in Ber­lin, the me­dia re­ported.

Ques­tions raised

But as the Europe-wide man­hunt in­ten­si­fied, ques­tions were also raised about how the sus­pect had been able to avoid arrest and de­por­ta­tion de­spite be­ing on the radar of sev­eral se­cu­rity agen­cies.

“The au­thor­i­ties had him in their crosshairs and he still man­aged to van­ish,” said Der Spiegel weekly on its web­site.

The Sued­deutsche Zeitung crit­i­cized police for wast­ing time fo­cus­ing on a Pak­istani sus­pect im­me­di­ately af­ter the truck as­sault, in what turned out to be a false lead.

“It took a while be­fore the fed­eral police turned to Amri as a sus­pect,” it said.

The at­tack, Ger­many’s dead­li­est in re­cent years, has been claimed by the Is­lamic State group.

Twenty-four peo­ple re­main in hos­pi­tal, 14 of whom were se­ri­ously in­jured.

Ger­many has boosted se­cu­rity mea­sures fol­low­ing the car­nage, beef­ing up the police pres­ence at train sta­tions, air­ports and at its bor­ders with Poland and France.

Amri left Tu­nisia af­ter the 2011 un­rest and lived in Italy for three years, a Tu­nisian of­fi­cial said. Ital­ian me­dia said he served time in prison there for set­ting fire to a school.

He ar­rived in Ger­many last year but his ap­pli­ca­tion for asy­lum was re­jected in June.

De­nounc­ing the deadly at­tack, US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump re­newed his vow to stop rad­i­cal ter­ror groups and ap­peared to sug­gest a will­ing­ness to move ahead with his cam­paign pledge to ban tem­po­rar­ily Mus­lim im­mi­grants from com­ing to the United States.

When asked on Wed­nes­day if the at­tack in Ber­lin would cause him to eval­u­ate the pro­posed ban or a pos­si­ble reg­istry of Mus­lims in the US, he said: “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right, 100 per­cent cor­rect.

“What’s hap­pen­ing is dis­grace­ful,” said Trump, who deemed the vi­o­lence “an at­tack on hu­man­ity, and it’s got to be stopped”.

You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right, 100 per­cent cor­rect.” Don­ald Trump, US pres­i­dent-elect A pro­tester ac­ci­den­tally set him­self on fire while try­ing to burn an ef­figy in Bathinda, In­dia, on Wed­nes­day. The man was among a group of con­tract teach­ers de­mand­ing per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment.

High se­cu­rity in US

Mean­while, police de­part­ments around the US are mak­ing a show of force at places where crowds gather at Christ­mas­time.

In New York, police dis­patched heav­ily-armed coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cers to stand guard at crowded pop-up Christ­mas mar­kets in Union Square, Bryant Park and Colum­bus Cir­cle only an hour af­ter news broke on Tues­day about the car­nage in Ber­lin.

In Chicago, police parked their ve­hi­cles di­ag­o­nally at the cor­ners of Da­ley Plaza to block any ve­hi­cle ac­cess to a Christ­mas mar­ket there. In San Francisco, mo­tor­cy­cle and mounted horse units were pa­trolling in high-traf­fic shop­ping ar­eas.

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