Manhunt for Berlin suspect intensifies as anger grows

Updated: Dec 23, 2016, 10:46 IST | Agencies

German authorities were under fire yesterday after it emerged that the prime suspect in Berlin's deadly truck attack, a rejected Tunisian asylum seeker, was known as a potentially dangerous jihadist

Nourhane Amri, mother of Anis Amri, the prime suspect in Berlin truck attack, in front her house in Oueslatia, Tunisia. Pic/AFP
Nourhane Amri, mother of Anis Amri, the prime suspect in Berlin truck attack, in front her house in Oueslatia, Tunisia. Pic/AFP

Berlin: German authorities were under fire yesterday after it emerged that the prime suspect in Berlin's deadly truck attack, a rejected Tunisian asylum seeker, was known as a potentially dangerous jihadist.

German prosecutors have issued a Europe-wide wanted notice for 24-year-old Anis Amri, offering a €100,000 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 radical Islamist scene, were found in the cab of the 40-ton lorry that rammed through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing 11. The 12th victim, the hijacked truck's Polish driver, was found shot in the cab. Amri's fingerprints were also found on the truck's door, media said.

The police yesterday searched a refugee centre in Emmerich, western Germany, where Amri had 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.

In a revelation likely to stoke public anger, German officials said they had been investigating Amri, suspecting he was planning an attack.

24
Number of people still in hospital

12
Number of people killed in the attack

German prosecutor denies report of arrests in case

Anis Amri
Anis Amri

A spokesman for the German chief federal prosecutor yesterday denied a media report saying that there had been four arrests of people who had contact with the Tunisian suspect.

"No, that's not the case," the spokesman said, when asked about the report. "We do not know of any arrest," he added.

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