Berlin Christmas Market Reopens After Terrorist Truck Attack

On Wednesday, Ralf Jaeger, interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said Amri arrived in Germany in July 2015 and his asylum application had been rejected in June 2016.

German media outlets, citing unnamed sources, report that Amri became a suspect in the Christmas market attack after his temporary residency papers were found under the seat of the cab in the tractor-trailer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September tried to push through a plan that would allow refugees to be trained and hired as lorry drivers - just months before a lorry was used by a suspected asylum-seeker to mow down civilians during Monday's Berlin terror attack.

Spokesman Sofiane Selliti told The Associated Press that officials from two specialized brigades in Tunis and Kairouan interrogated family members on Wednesday at their home in the central Tunisian town of Oueslatia.

After the manhunt was issued, police in Denmark searched a Sweden-bound ferry in the port of Grenaa following tip-offs that a person resembling Amri was on the vessel. Border checks have been stepped up after a European arrest warrant was issued, and a 100,000 euro reward was offered for any information that would lead to the suspect's arrest.

He used several identity documents under three nationalities and used six aliases.

Amri's father told Tunisia's Mosaique FM radio that his son left his homeland about seven years ago, spent four years in a prison in Italy after being accused in a fire at a school there then moved to Germany more than a year ago. "We always had our differences and didn't agree on much", Abdelkader Amri said.

Broadcaster rbb said the suspect lost both his wallet and mobile phone while fleeing.

"We can report today that we have new information that the suspect is with high probability really the perpetrator", de Maiziere said.

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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.

Candles at the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square in Berlin, where at least 12 people died in Monday's lorry attack.

One of his brothers still in Tunisia, Abdelkader Amri, urged him to hand himself over to cops. "Merkel has directly caused a whole number of social and terrorist problems in Germany, it's about time we confronted that truth", he told LBC radio on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Christmas market has reopened to the public with additional security measures.

The Italian justice ministry on Thursday confirmed media reports that 24-year-old Anis Amri was repeatedly admonished and transferred among Sicilian prisons for bad conduct.

The Islamic State group, which has explicitly called for its supporters to kill non-believers using vehicles, claimed responsibility for the attack by calling the attacker a "soldier", but provided no further evidence to back up its claim.

Berlin authorities put him under surveillance this year over suspicions that he had been planning a robbery to fund the purchase of automatic weapons, and was seeking accomplices for a possible attack.

Israel's Foreign Ministry says an Israeli woman has been identified as one of the victims of the Berlin Christmas market attack. However, police said they did not find anything.

The market reopened on Thursday ringed by concrete bollards, although the section where the truck hit was kept bare.

  • Desiree Holland