Berlin Christmas Market Reopens as Hunt for Attacker Goes On

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
December 22, 2016 Updated: December 22, 2016

BERLIN—Authorities across Europe scrambled Thursday to track down a Tunisian man suspected of driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, as one of his brothers urged him to surrender.

Nearly three days after the deadly attack that killed 12 people and injured 48 others, the market in the center of the German capital reopened, with concrete blocks in place at the roadside to provide extra security.

Organizers at the market decided to ditch party music or bright lighting, and Berliners and visitors have laid candles and flowers at the site in tribute.

German authorities issued a wanted notice for Anis Amri on Wednesday and offered a reward of up to 100,000 euros ($104,000) for information leading to the 24-year-old’s arrest, warning that he could be “violent and armed.”

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and broadcasters NDR and WDR reported Thursday that Amri’s fingerprints were found on the driver’s door of the Polish-registered truck that caused the mayhem Monday night. The daily Berliner Zeitung reported that his fingerprints were found on the truck’s steering wheel.

The reports did not name sources and German prosecutors refused to comment on them.

One of Amri’s brothers still in Tunisia, meanwhile, urged him to stop being a fugitive.

“I ask him to turn himself in to the police. If it is proved that he is involved, we dissociate ourselves from it,” brother Abdelkader Amri told The Associated Press.

He said Amri may have been radicalized in prison in Italy, where he went after leaving Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Several locations across Germany were searched overnight, including a house in the Dortmund and a refugee home in Emmerich on the Dutch border, German media reported.

The manhunt also prompted police in Denmark to search a Sweden-bound ferry in the port of Grenaa after receiving tips that someone resembling Amri had been spotted, but police said they found nothing indicating his presence.

An Israeli woman, Dalia Elyakim, and 31-year-old Fabrizia Di Lorenzo of Italy were among the 12 killed in the Berlin market attack, their countries said. Di Lorenzo had lived and worked in Berlin for several years.

German officials had deemed Amri, who arrived in the country last year, a potential threat long before the attack Monday — and even kept him under covert surveillance for six months this year before halting the operation.

They had been trying to deport him after his asylum application was rejected in July but were unable to do so because he lacked valid identity papers and Tunisia initially denied that he was a citizen.

A document belonging to Amri, who according to authorities has used at least six different names and three different nationalities, was found in the cab of the market attack truck.

Family members of Amri, speaking from his hometown of Oueslatia in central Tunisia, were shaken to learn that he was a suspect. Amri left Tunisia years ago for Europe but had been in regular contact with his brothers via Facebook and phones.