Details of Berlin attacker’s Europe travels emerge
Following the Berlin attack, suspected assailant Anis Amri travelled from Germany to the Netherlands and then on to France before heading to Italy where police shot him dead, investigative sources revealed Wednesday.
Two days after the December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin left 12 dead, the 24-year-old Tunisian boarded an overnight bus at the Dutch city of Nijmegen, near the German border, that took him to Lyon in central France, sources close to the investigation told the AFP Wednesday.
At Lyon, Amri got off the bus at the Gare de Lyon-Part-Dieu station, where surveillance cameras filmed him Thursday, according to sources.
From there, he took a train to the French Alpine town of Chambery before heading to Milan, in northern Italy.
Italian police shot Amri dead in the early hours of Friday after he fired at officers who had stopped him for a routine identity check.
A train ticket from Lyon to Milan via Turin was found on his body.
The fact that the chief suspect in the Berlin attack was able to return to Italy unhindered despite a Europe-wide arrest warrant has raised uncomfortable questions for intelligence agencies.
The security lapse is particularly embarrassing for France, which the suspect was able to enter, travel across and leave, despite a state of emergency.
Details of Amri’s travels through Europe have also sparked questions of German security lapses with investigators still trying to determine how a suspect on a Europe-wide warrant was able to leave Berlin and traverse most of Germany to reach the Netherlands.
Wim de Bruin, spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service told AFP: “I can confirm that the Dutch police are investigating whether he travelled through The Netherlands after the attack in Berlin.”
De Bruin declined however to give further details.
Dutch lawmakers including anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders demanded an explanation over reports that Amri may have travelled through the Netherlands.
An attempt by Wilders to convene the lower house of parliament for an urgent debate on the matter was turned down after he failed to get the approval of a majority of lawmakers.
The Berlin rampage was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, which released a video on Friday in which Amri is shown pledging allegiance to IS group chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
German officials arrest suspected Amri contact
German authorities are probing whether Amri had help before or after the attack, and on Friday police detained a Tunisian man on suspicion of having ties with him.
The 40-year-old man, who wasn’t identified, was detained during a search of his home and business, federal prosecutors said.
The man’s telephone number was saved in Amri’s cellphone, according to prosecutors.
Of the new suspect, prosecutors said in a statement that “further investigations indicate that he may have been involved in the attack”.
The arrest in Germany came as Tunisian authorities on Friday arrested Amri’s nephew and two other suspects, aged between 18 and 27, who they said were members of a “terrorist cell” connected to Amri.
But the interior ministry made no direct link between the trio and the Berlin assault.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)