€100,000 Bounty Offered For “Dangerous And Armed” Berlin Attacker; Europe-Wide Police Alert Issued
Update 2: German authorities issued a Europe-wide police alert naming 23-year-old Anis Amri as a suspect in the case, describing him as “dangerous and armed.”
Meanwhile, according to the suspect’s father and security sources, Tunisia’s Radio Mosaique reported that Anis Amri left Tunisia seven years ago as an illegal immigrant and spent time in prison in Italy.
The radio reported on its website that security sources had named the suspect as Anis Amri from Oueslatia in rural central Tunisia. He served four years in jail in Italy on accusations of burning a school, it said. The father told the radio station that his son left for Germany a year ago.
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Update: Germany has offered a €100,000 bounty for any information leading to the suspect’s arrest during a Europe-wide manhunt across the border-free area.
— dwnews (@dwnews) December 21, 2016
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Storm clouds are gathering for Angela Merkel who, in the aftermath of Monday’s tragic Berlin truck attack said that “it would be particularly repulsive if a refugee, seeking protection in Germany, was the perpetrator.” According to the latest news out of Germany, not only was the suspect, Anis Amri, a (failed) refugee, as he was supposed to be deported from Germany, but more troubling for Merkel is that he was previously investigated in a separate terror plot, however was never apprehended.
According to Ralf Jäger, the interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state where the suspect had lived for some time, Amri was previously investigated in connection with an earlier terror plot. The man had been considered a potential threat by security authorities since November. After being turned down for asylum, he should have been deported but could not be returned to Tunisia because his documents were missing, added Jaeger.
Amri reportedly moved around Germany and lived in several places, Jäger said. Since February this year he lived mostly in Berlin, but he had been back in North Rhine-Westphalia recently.
Jäger said an investigation had been launched against the suspect earlier this year on suspicion of “preparing a serious crime endangering national safety”. The investigation was launched by police in North Rhine-Westphalia but mainly conducted in Berlin, he said.
Just as troubling is that the Tunisian suspect was supposed to be deported from Germany but could not be, “because he had no valid identity document that could be used to prove he was Tunisian”, Jager said cited by the Telegraph.
As Jäger was speaking, a police raid on refugee accommodation where Anis Amri lived was reportedly under way.
Jäger said that the suspect had been in Germany since July 2015. His claim for asylum was rejected in June this year but the authorities were unable to deport him as they could not prove his identity.
German authorities requested Tunisia issue him with a new passport or laissez-passer two months ago. Tunisia initially denied that he was Tunisian but document arrived on Wednesday – two days after the attack. Bild added that German authorities requested a passport for Amri from the Tunisian authorities two months ago so he could be deported.
It is unclear if Merkel’s government was pass the blame for Monday’s attack on the Tunisians for not being cooperative on time, and preventing Amri’s deportation.
The new details will add to a growing list of questions about whether security authorities missed opportunities to prevent the attack which claimed the lives of 12 people and was the deadliest attack on German soil since 1980; it will also cast further doubt on how competent Merkel is to deal with the fallout from a problem which her political opponents, and much of the local population, allege she is responsible for.