Berlin Christmas Market Attack Suspect was Monitored by Security Services



BERLIN — The Tunisian national who is the prime suspect in Berlin's truck attack on a Christmas market was identified as a potential threat by security services long before the deadly assault.
The revelation came as authorities across Europe scrambled Thursday to trace Anis Amri, 24, in connection with the attack Monday that killed 12 and injured 48. Several locations including a refugee center near the Dutch border and a ferry bound for Sweden from Denmark were searched overnight. No sightings of Amri were announced.


If Amri is confirmed to be the perpetrator, the fact that he was known and watched puts German authorities under huge pressure for failing to stop the country's first major terrorist attack since Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed about a million asylum seekers to come here. Many were subject to few security checks.
Amri was under German surveillance for six months because authorities feared he had become radicalized and may haven been planning an attack. He was due to be deported after his asylum application was rejected but a delay in paperwork from Tunisia enabled him to evade detention, according to Ralf Jäger, the interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, the region where Amri lived for a time.
The New York Times reported that Amri was on a U.S. no-fly list.


Amri's identity papers were found in the truck that slammed into the market. The Islamic State did not name Amri specifically but claimed the attacker as one of its "soldiers." German authorities issued a $105,000 reward for information leading to Amri's capture. He is described as "violent and armed" and has several aliases.


Authorities said Amri traveled under at least three different nationalities and spent time in a prison in Italy. Abdelkader Amri, one of Amri’s brothers in Tunisia, urged him Thursday to turn himself in. "If it is proved that he is involved, we dissociate ourselves from it," he told the Associated Press.


Speaking in Florida on Wednesday night, President-elect Donald Trump said the attack proved him right. He appeared to be referring to his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and to establish a registry for Muslims. "You know my plans," Trump said. "All along, I've been proven right. 100%."
Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims has been condemned by Republicans, Democrats, Muslim groups and the United Nations refugee agency.