manhunt for Anis Amri, the suspected terrorist who the German
authorities say is the most likely suspect for the terrorist attack
on the Berlin Christmas market, has ended, with the Italian and
German authorities confirming that he
was shot dead by Italian police earlier today in Milan.
to the Italian authorities, when police stopped Anis Amri in Milan,
he drew out a gun and was immediately shot dead.
death of Anis Amri ends the possibility of his undertaking any
further terrorist incidents whilst still on the run. It also
ends the possibility of his being caught alive, and questioned, and
eventually of being charged and put on trial.
terrorists who carry out terrorist attacks in Europe are however
almost invariably killed or kill themselves rather than be caught.
There is nothing therefore unusual or surprising about Anis
Amri’s death, and nothing should be read into it. As for
whether he really was the person who carried out the Berlin terror
attack, the case against him seems to be overwhelming. However
his death does mean that it will now be more difficult to find out
whether Anis Amri acted on his own or whether he acted under orders
as a member of a terrorist cell. Unfortunately at the moment
the latter looks more likely.
is far more concerning about Anis Amri is that an individual such as
him, suspected of having Jihadist sympathies and as it turns out
possibly a signed up ISIS militant, was able to move about Germany
freely, and that the German police not only lost sight of him, but
failed initially to identify him, and lost sight of him again
directly after the terrorist attack.
some countries that would lead to a judicial inquiry into what on the
face of it was serious case of negligence. Given the political
stakes in Germany, it
will be interesting to see if that happens.
strange things about the Berlin terror attack
the investigation and manhunt for the truck driver continue, here are
five things to consider.
A horrendous terror attack on a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday
evening left 12 people dead and 48 injured. Chancellor Merkel,
however, only addressed the public next day, some 15 hours after the
tragic event. She was ‘appalled, shocked and deeply sad about what
happened at Breitscheidplatz’. Merkel admitted that she had ‘no
easy answer as to how we can live with what happened’. She
also outlined that: ‘it would be particularly unbearable for all of
us if it were confirmed that an asylum-seeker had committed this
sounds as if preventing any challenges to her open-door refugee
policy is of higher importance to the state than assuring safety
of its citizens. At the time of such a tragedy, you would expect
words of reassurance and a clear message that the government will
take all possible measures to protect its people from possible acts
of terror in the future. Instead, Merkel yet once again tried to
justify her refugee policy, and her attempt sounded cynical toward
those murdered and injured in the attack.
The ‘wrong’ guy.
The first suspect, a Pakistani asylum-seeker Naved B., was detained
by the police after an eyewitness allegedly saw him run from the
truck, followed him for a couple of kilometers and informed the
police. Naved was questioned till the evening of the following day,
when the police concluded that there was not enough evidence to keep
him in detention.
to the German paper Tagesspiegel,
Naved was previously detained under accusations of sexual assault but
released by the police. Perhaps sexual attacks on women are after all
not such a big deal for the German authorities.
One well-hidden ID.
Only on Wednesday morning did the police find an ID of a 24
y.o.Tunisian asylum-seeker Anis Amri. The paper found in a wallet
under the driver’s seat, Duldung,
provide that Amri applied for an asylum but his application was
rejected thus making Amri a subject for deportation. So why did it
take the police almost 40 hours to discover that wallet?
A coincidence? Anis
Amri spent four years in prison in Italy for burning down a school
before he came to Germany in the summer 2015. According to Spiegel,
Amri applied for an asylum in Kleve, Nord-Rhein-Westphalia, in April
2016. In June 2016, his asylum application was rejected as
‘unsubstantiated’. Just like another 200.000 asylum-seekers in
Germany, whose asylum applications were turned down, he received a
paper confirming that he is a subject for deportation but can stay in
the country till the deportation takes place.
rejected asylum-seeker can only be deported if he has a valid
document (a passport or an ID), and if his country of origin
co-operates with the deportation. Both were not the case with
Amri. Tunisia would not admit for months that Amri is indeed a
Tunisian citizen. On the other hand, Amri was registered in Germany
under several different identities.
Wednesday, two days after the terror attack, the German authorities
finally received all required documents from Tunisia. At a press
conference held in Düsseldorf on Wednesday, Ralf Jäger, Interior
Minister of NRW, refused to comment on this, what seems to be truly
Flaws in security.
Anis Amri was under the police radar for several months as an
ISIS sympathizer. It was known to the German authorities that
Amri had a connection to a notorious ISIS recruiter Abu Walaa,
referred to as a highest representative of ISIS in Germany. Amri
sought to buy automatic weapons and tried to recruit an accomplice
for a terror attack. As Süddeutsche
the investigators had information that Amri planned to fight for ISIS
in Syria and had trainings in preparation for his fights. And
nevertheless, he was still able to remain in Germany.
was associated with a group of ISIS sympathizers whose priority was
to carry out terror attacks in Germany, hence his trip to Syria was
delayed. One of the group’s plans was assassinations of police
officers with hand grenades. Amri was identified by the German
authorities as ‘highly dangerous’, detained earlier this year and
yet released. For several months Amri was able to move freely across
was on the police radar in Nord-Rhein-Westphalia till February 2016,
and then in Berlin from March till September of this year when his
surveillance was lifted. As Amri is still at large, the danger of
another terror attack remains very high.
What is rather chilling
about this whole tragedy is the question: how many more terrorists,
of whom the police may well be aware, are there awaiting their turn
to attack innocent people?