December 21, 2016

Berlin Terror Suspect Rejected for Asylum and Under Investigation



German officials are searching for a Tunisian man whose ID was found under the driver's seat of the truck used in Monday's attack. The suspect was said to already have been under investigation for a terror plot. German authorities said on Wednesday that they are searching for a Tunisian man in connection with Monday's terror attack in Berlin.
The man has already being investigated in connection with an act of terrorism. The authorities noted his contacts with German Salafists, who follow an extremely conservative brand of Islam, according to the interior minister of German state North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Ralph Jäger.
They also launched a probe, based on suspicion that the 24-year-old Anis Amri was preparing "a serious crime against the state." 
"Security agencies shared their findings and information about this person with the Joint Counter-Terrorism center, most recently in November 2016," he told reporters on Wednesday.
Earlier this year, the authorities received a tip from federal security agencies that that the suspect might be planning a break-in. Officials suspected Amri could use the loot to buy automatic weapons.
According to prosecutors in Berlin, the authorities placed the Tunisian under surveillance in March.
While the surveillance data showed that the man was involved in a drug dealing and a bar brawl, it turned up no evidence to confirm the original suspicion. The monitoring was canceled in September this year.
Tunisian radio station Radio Mosaique reported that Amri server four years in Italian jail for burning down a school. The outlet cited Amri's father and Tunisian security officials as sources.
No papers - no deportation
Interior Minister Jäger added that the suspect was living in NRW before traveling to Berlin in February. He also confirmed that the man applied for the asylum and was rejected.  
However, the authorities ran into bureaucratic hurdles while trying to repatriate him.
"The man could not be deported  because he had no valid ID papers," Jäger told the media.
He added that the Tunisia has initially denied that this man was their citizen.
"The papers only arrived today," he said. "I will not comment on this any further."
Also on Wednesday, some 150 police officers raided a migrant shelter in Emmerich, near the Dutch border, where suspect reportedly lived before moving to Berlin. The raid is a part of a nationwide manhunt.

dw.com

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