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Multiple probes against Amri

February 14, 2017

Berlin truck terrorist Anis Amri was the focus of eight prosecution teams in three German states before he murdered 12 people last December, says a Cologne newspaper. It cites findings by Germany's justice minister.

Pictures of Anis Amri hang on a wall at a police station
Image: picture alliance/dpa/A. Dedert

Cologne's tabloid "Express" newspaper reported Tuesday that prosecutors in three regional states ran as many as 11 probes against Amri from July 2015 when the Tunisian entered Germany from Italy where he had already run afoul of police.

The disclosure, which "Express" sourced to inquiries by German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, came as Tunisia's Prime Minister Yousseh Chahed visited Chancellor Merkel in Berlin and paid respects to victims mowed down by Amri at a Christmas market.

Amri, a rejected asylum seeker and suspected "Gefährder" or public menace, drove a stolen truck in the attack claimed by "Islamic State" (IS). Twelve people were killed and around 50 injured in the attack.

Four days later, he was shot dead by Italian police in Milan when an identity check escalated into a shootout.

After arriving from Tunisia in 2011, he spent four years in Italy, including time spent in detention. 

Multiple probes

"Express" said prosecutors' allegations before the Berlin attack ranged from unauthorized entry, grievous bodily harm, complicity in a fatality, aggravated theft, misusing social welfare funding, dealing in narcotics, falsifying documents, stealing two mobile phones and traveling on public transport without valid tickets.

Those investigations were underway in three cities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Arnsberg, Duisberg and Kleve), three cities in Baden Württemberg (Freiburg, Ravensburg and Karlsruhe), in Berlin city-state, as well as at the Federal Prosecutions office in Karlsruhe.

A fourth regional state, Hesse, was checking whether it too had had two further sets of investigative proceedings against Amri, said the "Express."

Blame traded

At an interior committee hearing in Germany's federal Bundestag parliament on Monday, senior figures in the parties that make up Chancellor Angela Merkel's grand coalition traded blame on how authorities lost track of Amri in September 2016 before he struck on December 19.

His method resembled a fatal truck attack by another Tunisian IS suspect who killed 86 revelers in Nice, France, on Bastille Day last year. 

How could Amri slip through the net?

ipj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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