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German police predicted Berlin terror attack

March 26, 2017

Months before Anis Amri rammed a truck into a crowded market, police warned he was planning an attack. Authorities ignored their calls for his deportation, saying such a move was legally impossible.

Deutschland LKW nach dem Anschlag am Breitscheidplatz in Berlin
Image: Reuters/H. Hanschke

German state police predicted nine months ahead of time Anis Amri's truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, Sunday paper "Bild am Sonntag" reported.

State police (LKA) in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) warned its state interior ministry of solid evidence that Amri was planning a suicide attack, the tabloid reported.

In a confidential letter investigators cited, among other evidence, Amri's chat history in the Telegram mobile app, in which he used euphemisms to indicate his plan to commit such an act.

Despite the warning NRW's Ministry of the Interior decided that deportation was not legally enforceable. Since the attack state Interior Minister Ralf Jäger repeated that position.

Jäger was due to appear on Wednesday before a state parliament investigation committee.

Security alert for Anis Amri
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Bundeskriminalamt

Calls for resignation

Opposition figures called for Jäger's dismissal, given the revelations. "This memorandum is clear proof that Interior Minister Jäger failed in his responsibilities, Liberal Democrat Joachim Stamp told the paper.

"These new revelations are dramatic," said Armin Laschet, the state leader of the Christian Democratic Union party. "Interior Minister Jäger is a security risk for people all over Germany."

Nine months after the March report, Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring scores more.

The Tunisian was facing deportation, but his use of more than a dozen identities and a hold-up on his paperwork allowed him to stay for 18 months.

On Wednesday the state parliament will interview several high-level state politicians on the failure to deport Amri and how he slipped passed authorities' radars.

aw/kl (dpa, AFP)