BERLIN – German police are desperately hunting for a radicalized Tunisian man described as “Highly Dangerous” and a member of a “large” Islamic organization after Monday’s deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.
Police officials said they have recovered DNA and ID document under the driver’s seat of the truck belonging to a Tunisian man in his early 20’s believed to have been radicalized by extremest.
The man was named as Anis A who German media described as “highly dangerous” and a member of a “large” Islamic organization. He was “apparently” previously arrested for GBH but not charged because he went underground. The man is also believed to use false names.
German agencies have claimed he is an Islamist and part of a wider network, who was already on the radar of the authorities. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack.
The manhunt took a new focus after police determined on Tuesday that they arrested the wrong man a Pakistani migrant proven to be innocent.
Germany’s top prosecutor, Peter Frank told reporters “we don’t know for sure whether it was one or several perpetrators and we don’t know for sure whether he, or they, had support.”
The suspect reportedly has extensive links to militant Islam.
Born in the jihadi hotbed of Tataouine in 1992, he applied for asylum in Germany in April, Die Welt reported. He was a follower of the recently arrested Abu Walaa, an Iraqi citizen and preacher who was believed to be one of the top ISIS leaders in Germany, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Die Welt reported the suspect had stayed with another suspected Islamist in Germany, had recently sought to obtain weapons and drew the attention of German officials, who were monitoring his communications.
As part of the manhunt, German authorities have been scouring hospitals after reportedly finding the suspect’s DNA inside the truck and concluding that he likely sustained an injury during the Christmas market attack.
ISIS claimed “a soldier of the Islamic State carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the Crusader coalition.” The attack, which mirrored the ghastly massacre in Nice over the summer, appeared to follow several of the terror group’s online guides for committing acts of terror using vehicles.
Police in Berlin said they had received 508 tips on the attack as of Tuesday night, and did not say if they were looking for more than one suspect.
Spokesmen for the Tunisian Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry did not have information about the possible suspect and could not immediately confirm whether the Tunisian government had been contacted by German authorities.
Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller said Wednesday it was “good to see that Berliners aren’t being intimidated.”
“I don’t think there’s any need to be afraid,” he told ZDF television. “The police presence has been significantly heightened … and of course other measures taken to find the perpetrator quickly.”
Mueller argued that there are limits to increasing security, given the number of public spaces and events.
“It wouldn’t be our free and open life any more if we escalated security measures so much that people worry about going anywhere, that there are strict entry checks,” he said. “We don’t want that. It must be appropriate and goal-oriented.”
Referring to security measures, he added: “A lot has happened, and more certainly will.”
By Geoff Thomas
Source: The Associated Press, Fox News