Police hunt ‘armed and dangerous’ Tunisian asylum seeker, 23, after his ID is found under lorry driver’s seat at scene of Christmas market massacre

Daily Mail

This is the Tunisian asylum seeker who has become Europe’s most wanted man after his ID was found under the seat in the lorry used to massacre 12 people at a Berlin Christmas market.

Police today revealed they are hunting Anis Amri, 23, a refugee who came to Germany earlier this year. His paperwork was found in truck’s footwell.

He is probably armed, ‘highly dangerous’ and a member of a ‘large’ Islamic organisation and has weapons training abroad, security sources say.  

Most wanted: Police today revealed they are hunting Anis Amri, 23, pictured, a refugee who came to Germany earlier this year. His paperwork was found in truck's footwell. The driver is believed to be armed and dangerousThe suspect was also in contact with a ‘network of leading Islamist ideologists’.

Amri, who was born in the desert town of Tataouine in 1992 – a well-known ISIS stronghold close to the Libyan border – was apparently recently arrested for GBH but vanished before he could be charged.

In August 2016 he was arrested with a fake Italian passport and released but his phone was said to be monitored. He then disappeared in December, according to Die Welt.

A Facebook profile in his name shows ‘likes’ linked to Tunisian terror group Ansar al-Sharia, a Tunisian group with followers linked to extremists who murdered 22 at Tunis’ Bardo Museum in March 2015 and then 39 tourists at a beach resort in Sousse

Amri has temporary permission to stay in the country but was due to face an asylum hearing.

Despite an unfolding international manhunt the first pictures of him released in Germany have his eyes deliberately covered, thought to be because of strict privacy laws there. MailOnline has uncovered unblurred images.

Police are believed to have found blood in the truck’s cab and now assume that the suspect may be badly injured.

Squads of officers have been to every hospital in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg. They also arrested another unnamed suspect in connection with the terror attack but have since ruled him out.

Amri was living in Berlin but a police operation is now underway in North Rhine-Westphalia – the industrial region of Germany containing Cologne, Dortmund and Bonn. His ID was issued on the town of Kleve close to the border with the Netherlands and Belgium.

The atrocity could be a political disaster for Mrs Merkel, who will seek a historic fourth term as chancellor next year. She has staked much of her political capital on opening Germany’s doors to refugees.

Amri is allegedly a disciple of Abu Walaa, arrested in Hildesheim last month for recruiting radicals into the ranks of Isis. Walaa has previously spoken at mosques in London.

He was arrested along with five members of a terrorist recruiting network operating on behalf of the so-called Islamic State, according to prosecutors.

The arrests took place in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. The network is alleged recruited and provided logistical support for local volunteers making their way from Germany to Syria.

Iraqi citizen known Abu Walaa, 32, or Ahmad Abdelaziz as he is also known, is a leading figure of the movement in Germany, and many of his followers have made their way to Syria.

Walaa has been at the centre of a year-long investigation, which also yielded arrests in the city of Hildesheim in July 2016. The arrest appears to have been aided by a former IS fighter, Anil O, 22, who identified Walaa as Germany’s ISIS leader.

Amri’s home town in north Africa is famous for being the inspiration for Luke Skywalker’s home planet in Star Wars but has become an ISIS stronghold for jihadis attacking targets in nearby Libya.

It came as it was revealed the Pakistani asylum seeker held in the aftermath of the Berlin Christmas market massacre was held because he accidentally jumped a red light.

Naved Baluch, 23, who arrived in Germany a year ago, was seized and blamed for Monday night’s carnage after witnesses saw him commit a traffic offence a mile away.

Detectives, who flew him out of Berlin and across the country to Karlsruhe to question him, took 18 hours to realise Mr Baluch, who had no blood on his clothes and no injuries, did not drive a lorry through crowds to kill 12 and wound 48 more.

It was only then the security services warned the public that the real ISIS killer was on the run with a gun. Today Berlin is in mourning as police warned ‘vigilance’ is needed because a second attack could be imminent.

Despite bungling the initial investigation police insist DNA, GPS and mobile phone data tied to the lorry used to murder and maim could lead to an arrest today.

A BBC journalist made the red light claims on the Today programme this morning.

‘He was the wrong man,’ said a source in the German security services. ‘The true perpetrator is still armed, at large and can cause further damage.’

As the hunt for Europe’s most wanted man continues, it was revealed:

  • ID belonging to Anis Amri, 21, a Tunisian asylum seeker, is found in the footwell. The is blood in the cab and the drive may be seriously injured
  • Police get 500 calls and insist they could arrest killer truck driver today despite bungling initial investigation. They say DNA and GPS linked to the lorry could lead to breakthrough
  • Twelve people are dead and 48 are injured – 16 seriously – after a lorry is driven at 40mph through crowds at the famous Breitscheidplatz Square Christmas market at 7pm on Monday night.
  • Hours earlier the lorry was hijacked from a Polish driver taking steel to Berlin from Italy. Lukasz Urban, a father of one, was found shot dead in its cab. It is not yet clear when he died.
  • Police arrested Naved B based on a witness description who say him run a red light but later released their sole suspect because of a lack of evidence. 
  • Angela Merkel faces storm over her asylum policy and admits: ‘It would be particularly hard to bear for all of us if it was confirmed that a person committed this crime who asked for protection and asylum in Germany’ 

Europe’s most wanted man in still on the run today as police promised to find the ISIS truck terrorist by the end of the day – hours after admitting they had no ‘clue’ where he is hiding.

Berlin detectives have revealed that have had 500 calls from the public since Monday night’s massacre.

Andre Schulz, chairman of the Federal Association of German Criminal Detectives, said on TV Tuesday night: ‘I’m fairly confident that we can present a new suspect maybe tomorrow or in the near future’, adding that his colleagues had assembled ‘good evidence’ and that there were ‘very many starting points.

‘I have great faith in the police in Berlin and the Federal Criminal Office.’

Schulz claims that the murder squad investigating the first mass terrorist killing in Germany have 500 clues to work from.

The probe centres on the GPS system of the truck may be linked to the mobile telephone of the killer. Fingerprint evidence was also garnered from the cab of the wrecked lorry.

Interior minister Thomas de Maziere shared the optimism of Schulz, claiming that there has been ‘real progress’ made in the hunt.

Amid claims that police had no idea who they were looking for, prosecutor Holger Münch warned of another significant attack. And interior minister Klaus Bouillon declared Germany was ‘in a state of war’.

Within hours of the release of Mr Baluch last night, Islamic State issued its first claim of responsibility for the lorry attack on festive shoppers and revellers.

In a statement, the group’s AMAQ news agency said: ‘The executor of the operation in Berlin is a soldier of the Islamic state and he executed the operation in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition countries.’

According to Michael Behrendt, crime reporter for Die Welt, Berlin detectives were absolutely at a loss over the attacks. ‘The police have no idea who they are looking for,’ he said. ‘They have no weapon, no DNA traces.’ He said officers were studying CCTV footage but that ‘until they have any concrete information, it’s still completely unclear what they’re dealing with’.

As her country began to come to terms with one of its worst ever terror attacks, Mrs Merkel, clad in black, laid a single white rose at the spot where the horror unfolded.

The killer hijacked a juggernaut laden with steel to carry out the attack. The lorry’s computer system recorded a series of stop-start manoeuvres ‘as if someone was learning how to drive’.

At 7pm local time it drove around the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz Square several times, as if to build up speed, before switching off its headlights and charging at 40mph into a crowd.

Victims including children were sent flying like bowling pins and crushed under the 25-ton HGV’s wheels. The driver jumped from the cab and raced from the bloodbath.

Already dead in the cabin was the lorry’s driver, Lukasz Urban, a 37-year-old father of one from Poland who had been transporting steel beams to Germany from Italy.

He was found beaten and shot with a single bullet fired from a pistol. His cousin and boss said it was ‘really clear that he was fighting for his life’. The gun has not been found.

The attacker was followed by a witness for a mile and a half – updating police on his mobile phone – but who is then said to have lost him in the city’s Tiergarten park.

On the basis of the description of the attacker given to police by the witness, officers pounced on Mr Baluch near the park’s victory column.

Police celebrated the swift arrest, with spokesman Winfrid Wenzel hailing the ‘civic courage’ of the witness. But relief later turned to helplessness as the authorities admitted they had been wasting their time with the Pakistani, whose DNA was not in the cab.

Mr Baluch arrived in Germany last New Year’s Eve via the Balkans. He was living in a hangar at the old Tempelhof airport in the middle of Berlin, which police commandos raided at 4am yesterday in search of clues and accomplices.

So far, six of the dead have been identified, all German nationals.

One of the other fatalities could be Italian Fabrizia Lorenzo, 31, a transport specialist whose mobile phone and travel pass were found in the crash zone.

Of the wounded, 25 are still in hospital – 18 of whom have ‘very serious injuries’. Twenty-four others have been discharged. The rest were walking wounded. Last night thousands of mourners including people caught up in the attack held a candlelit vigil at the scene.

Sara Dobler, 26, from Port Talbot in Wales, witnessed the attack, saying: ‘One guy was on the floor, lying there trying to get up, but his head injury was quite severe so I just held his hand, told him everything is going to be OK.

‘I don’t know how he is now but I hope he’s OK. It was as if we were in a horror film.

‘We tried to get people, mainly families with children, to move away from the area because we didn’t want them to see what we saw. It is traumatising.’

German attorney general Peter Frank said it was possible more than one person might be involved.

The atrocity could be a political disaster for Mrs Merkel, who will seek a historic fourth term as chancellor next year. She has staked much of her political capital on opening Germany’s doors to refugees.

Speaking yesterday morning, before the suspect had been ruled out, she said that she was ‘shocked, shaken and saddened’ adding: ‘It would be particularly difficult for us to learn that a human being committed this deed who came to Germany to ask for refuge and asylum.’

Horst Seehofer, the minister-president of Bavaria and one of the harshest critics of her open-door asylum policy, caused a storm Tuesday night when he said on TV: ‘We owe it to the victims, to those affected and to the whole population to rethink our immigration and security policy and to change it.’

There were fresh questions yesterday over whether more could have been done to prevent the attacks.

Europol, the European Union police intelligence agency, warned earlier this month that lone attackers or small cells were plotting mayhem using vehicles as weapons.

Europol also pointed to reports that German authorities were aware of hundreds of attempts by jihadists to recruit refugees.

In November the United States warned its citizens it had ‘credible information’ that the Christmas markets were a target, while in the UK, the Foreign Office revised its travel advice earlier this month saying there was a ‘high threat from terrorism’ in Germany.

Islamic State militants had even published a terror manual last month containing instructions on using a lorry to inflict maximum carnage.

Their chilling Rumiyah magazine said using a vehicle was one of the most successful ways of ‘harvesting’ large numbers of non-believers.

Yet in Berlin, no concrete bollards were in place to protect revellers, with the authorities saying it would be wrong to turn the famous markets into ‘fortresses’.

The victims are being cared for in a number of hospitals in the capital. René Köchel, 52, is in the Auguste-Viktoria-Clinic where he is being treated for a leg injury.

‘I remember buying a mulled wine for a colleague when truck was practically upon us,’ he said. ‘I remember seeing the wheel of the lorry and me an my female friend managed to jump to one side. The wine stall was demolished and we managed to scrabble away from the wreckage.’

A young student from Spain survived the terror with multiple broken bones but his life intact.

Iñaki E. from Bilbao was at the Christmas market with three female friends when the truck-terrorist struck.

Iñaki, 21, an Erasmus student, was walking with his pals when the lorry hit the shoppers and the flimsy Christmas huts.

He remembers the lorry shedding a tyre before he was struck. The Berlin School of Economics and Law student suffered multiple fractures – a broken leg in three places and broken bones in his foot.

He underwent emergency surgery Monday night. He was due to travel home on Thursday but is confined to hospital. His parents have travelled to Berlin to be at his bedside as he recovers.

His mum told Germany’s BILD newspaper: ‘Mentally he is coping well. He said when he lay on the ground waiting for the rescuers he had not really taken in everything that was happening.

‘The girls took it much worse than him even though they were not hurt. We have had to cancel his flight home, we do not know how long he will be here.’

The Israeli ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said that an Israeli was wounded in the attack, a man in his middle 60’s who suffered a serious hip injury and needed emergency surgery.

But there is no sign of his wife who was with him and he hopes she is in a hospital somewhere in Berlin.

‘But we cannot rule out that she might be among the dead,’ he said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4054140/How-German-police-bungled-hunt-Europe-s-wanted-man-Asylum-seeker-23-wrongly-blamed-Christmas-market-massacre-jumping-red-light.html#ixzz4TTyYcLfn
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13 thoughts on “Police hunt ‘armed and dangerous’ Tunisian asylum seeker, 23, after his ID is found under lorry driver’s seat at scene of Christmas market massacre

  1. How F’n handy, ID card under the seat! That’s almost as incredible as the 911 hijacker’s ID found blocks away from the Twin towers. They got there suspect now and will continue “sifting” clues! Unbelievable!

    1. Lest we not forget the hijacker’s passport found at Shanksville, along with his ‘mooslamic terrist’s kafeya’, and also the Charlie Hedbo incident, ID’s conveniently left, shouting the ubiquitous ‘Allahu Akbar!…’

      Oh, yea. And the cop who turned his head away from the point-blank AK round, complete with white puff of smoke, and he ‘laid down to die’.

      Amazing that a 7.62 at point blank range made no mark (nor even a muzzle flash). Not the way I remember seeing it. More like a watermelon vs a sledgehammer.

      Everyone needs ONE course in school of physics, thermodynamics, and what-really-happens-is-not-like-Hollywood.

      Call it ‘Real Life 101’

  2. The details of this incident are up in the air, and a lot of questions about what happened are turning up. (starting to look like a false-flag event)

    The one thing you can be sure of at this point, is that you’re not going to get the truth of the matter from the Daily Mail. (good article to read to find out what DIDN’T happen)

  3. ID card under the seat? And not found until long after the attack?

    One could be forgiven for finding that just a wee bit suspicious…

  4. In regards to terrorism, at this point I question every event right out of the gates.

    All of the terrorism real or otherwise makes for more justification to never be unarmed or under-armed.

    With a sub compact version of a full sized pistol chambered in 9mm (10+1 capacity, appendix carry) and four 17rd backup mags (two in each front pocket), I’m able to conceal a potent 79rd package with most every outfit I can wear, even in the summer months of AZ.

    1. O yeah and work on those fundamentals with a ton of dry fire practice.

      1. SEE the target clearly
      2. POINT the weapon to the target
      3. PRESS the trigger without disturbing the point of aim.

  5. When this happened, within a couple of hours it was determined a terrorist attack. How when they had no suspect beside the one who they are now saying was the wrong guy? And now we have the ID, as usual, left at the scene. How many times does it have to be asked why would you take your ID with you and always seem to leave it there, why take it out of your pocket in the first place even if you were stupid enough to bring it along, especially when (AGAIN) they know all about what a bad guy you are and have been tracking you from here to there? All these so called clerics who recruit and radicalize these people and yet they are never touched let alone questioned. Sure, I believe you. Maybe they already knew the story was gonna be a 23 yr old Muslim and that’s why they were quick to let out the terrorism connection before they even realized they had the wrong guy. Oops.

  6. His “Manifesto” should be surfacing any time now. Hoping 2017 sees a bit more creativity and flair to these predictable “events”. C’mon, really? Under the seat?

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