In what should be a wake up call to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a search is on for Anis Amri, a Tunisian who was denied asylum but stayed in Germany anyway.
Germany tried to deport Amri, but no country would take him.
Germany issues a Europe-wide police alert for Tunisian suspect Anis Amri, believed to be responsible for the Berlin Christmas massacre.
German authorities had attempted to deport a Tunisian man who is being sought in connection with Monday’s deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market, but were unable to do so because Tunisia refused to recognise him as a citizen.
Ralf Jäger, interior minister for the German region of North Rhine Westphalia, said the man, whose documents were found in the cab of the truck that was used in Monday’s assault, had earlier been investigated by the authorities in Berlin on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack. But the probe had been closed, he said.
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” and offering a €100,000 reward for infomation leading to his arrest.
His story illustrates the problems Germany has encountered in trying to deport refugees whose asylum applications are unsuccessful. It is also indicative of the broader security challenge posed by the massive influx of refugees into Germany over the last two years, many of them from Muslim countries in the Middle East.
Mr Jäger said German authorities had rejected the Tunisian man’s application for asylum in June, but he could not be deported because he did not have a valid passport.
Germany asked the Tunisian authorities to issue him with the necessary papers, but they initially refused, saying he was not Tunisian. “The papers were not issued for a long time. They arrived today. I do not want to comment further on this fact,” Mr Jäger said.
He added that Mr Amri, who arrived in Germany in July 2015, was on the radar of several German security agencies because of apparent links to Islamic extremists. He said prosecutors in Berlin had investigated him on suspicion that he was planning a “serious state-endangering crime”.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the Tunisian man had been in contact with Abu Walaa, a suspected militant ringleader. German prosecutors said last month that they had arrested Abu Walaa and broken up his network, which they claimed had been been recruiting people to fight with Isis in Syria.
- Hello Chancellor, have you learned anything about your “We can do this” policy?
- How many other extremists who were denied asylum are running around on the loose?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock