Manhunt for Berlin suspect intensifies
Trump denounces attack, vows tough immigration plan
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.
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.