Thursday, 22 December 2016

Manhunt for Tunisian asylum seeker thought to be behind Berlin lorry attack

German police have launched an international manhunt for a Tunisian asylum seeker who they believe was behind the lorry attack on a Christmas market in Berlin this week.

A Pakistani asylum seeker was initially arrested but found to have had no involvement in the attack. Tunisian Anis Amri's ID was found under the seat of the truck that was used to drive through crowds of people at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz Christmas market on Monday.

Amri came to Europe posing as a refugee and spent 4 years in an Italian jail for burning down a school. Whilst in prison in Italy he was convicted in his absence of aggravated theft with violence in Tunisia and sentenced to 5 years in prison there. Instead of being deported he was allowed to make his way to Germany where he unsuccessfully applied for asylum. He was put on a danger list of suspected terrorists and arrested three times this year on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks but was released every time.

Amri's German ID card was issued near the Dutch and Belgian border and a manhunt is underway in that region. The EU's open borders mean that he could be anywhere, passing undetected between countries to escape detection. There has been no mention of a link between Brussels and Amri but Belgian anti-terrorist police raided one of the Islamic districts of Brussels at the time the attack took place which strongly suggests there may be a link.

Angela Merkel has laid a rose at the scene of the attack but has still not taken responsibility for inviting terrorists into Germany.