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Bundestag holds minute's silence in remembrance for Berlin terror attack victims

Bundestag president Norbert Lammert has praised the country's "sober" reaction following the Berlin attack, in which 12 people died and around 50 injured. The attack spurred debate around Germany's security apparatus.

One month on, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Joachim Gauck and state premiers joined parliamentarians in Berlin Thursday to observe a minute's silence remembrance for the victims of the Berlin terror attack. 

Speaking exactly one month the day after the attack on Berlin Christmas market, which killed 12 and injured around 50 people, Bundestag President Norbert Lammert praised the country's "sober" reaction.

"The aim of terrorism is to shatter, paralyze and destabilize democratic societies," Lammert told parliamentarians. "This goal has not been achieved by the terrorists in Germany. The population reacted to terrorism with a remarkable sense of calm."

On December 19, Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian with links to radical Islamist groups, plowed a truck into a crowded Christmas market on Berlin's Breitscheidplatz.

Amri was killed four days later, in a shoot-out with Italian police outside a train station in Milan.

Security forces under fire

German security forces have come under scrutiny for their actions in the run-up the incident after it emerged officials had been monitoring Amri for more than year before he perpetrated the attack in Berlin.

Amri was also facing deportation after arriving in Germany in July 2015, although his native Tunisia had initially failed to recognize him as a citizen, effectively blocking Germany from returning him.

The attack has also launched a debate around Germany's security architecture. Merkel has launched plans to toughen up security by expanding federal powers and increasing state surveillance capabilities.

Lammert said Thursday the attack had "forced us to rethink our country's security architecture" but stressed the aim of the debate about security was to balance security demands with personal freedoms.

"Freedom needs security if it is to be guaranteed, and security needs freedom to keep it from spiraling towards repression," Lammert said.

dm/rc (dpa, AFP)

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