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Berlin Christmas market attack

December 17, 2021

It was December 2016 when Anis Amri crashed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market killing 12 people. Over a hundred were injured, some seriously. An inquiry into the events behind the attack promised to leave no stone unturned. But questions remain.


On the 19th of December 2016, the German capital Berlin was the scene of the country’s worst Islamic inspired terrorist attack to date. At the wheel of a stolen semi-trailer truck, Tunisian Anis Amri drove into the throngs of people visiting a Christmas market at the foot of the famous Gedächtniskirche. 12 people were killed and more than a hundred were injured. Five years on, in October 2021, the number of fatalities rose to 13 when a first responder died of injuries sustained that night. More than 50 agencies have been involved in looking into how Amri was able to launch his attack. Three inquiries followed in quick succession. For the last five years the authors have been in touch with survivors and relatives of the victims. Often, they encountered people who have suffered not only the trauma of the attack itself, but also the trauma caused by searching for recognition. For the first time we get an idea of some of the IS operatives who have, until now, remained in the shadows. One former high ranking IS functionary was prepared to talk on camera. We meet former acquaintances of Amri. Previously unseen film footage provides fresh insight into the often crude world of young, male Islamic hardliners. The authors speak with police officers involved in the case and with the then head of the BND - Germany’s federal intelligence service. These interviews make one thing clear: Five years after the events, Germany’s counter terrorism measures are still far from perfect.

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