Berlin attack: Family urge suspect to surrender

The family of Anis Amri in TunisiaImage copyright
EPA

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The family of Anis Amri sit around a portrait of him in their home in Oueslatia, Tunisia

The family of Anis Amri, the Tunisian man suspected of driving a lorry into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, have urged him to surrender.

His brother, Abdelkader Amri, said he was sure Anis was innocent. If he was not, “it will be a dishonour for us”.

German officials have confirmed Amri’s fingerprints were found inside the truck that was used to kill 12 people and wound 49 others on Monday.

Breitscheidplatz market has reopened, with dimmed lights and no music.

Candles and flowers have been laid for the victims, which include at least six Germans, an Israeli tourist and an Italian woman. Police have installed concrete barriers to prevent a repeat attack.

“If my brother is listening to me, I want to tell him to surrender, even for our family, we will be relieved,” Abdelkader Amri told reporters from the family home in Tunisia.

“If he did what he is suspected of having done, he will be sanctioned,” he went on.

But he added: “I am sure that my brother is innocent. I know why he left home, he left for economic reasons… to work, to help the family, he didn’t go for [terrorism] reasons.”

Media captionThe BBC’s Gavin Lee reports from Emmerich: Anis Amri “suddenly disappeared” from the refugee centre

Both Abdelkader, and another brother, Walid, admitted that Anis had got into trouble in Europe and came out of a three-and-a-half year jail term in Italy with a “totally different mentality”.

But Walid said he had spoken to Anis just 10 days ago, and he had said he hoped to return to Tunisia in January. “He was saving money so he could come here, and buy a car and start a business, that was his dream.”

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said there was a “high probability” that Anis Amri was the “perpetrator” of Monday evening’s attack, without mentioning him by name.

“In the [lorry] cab, the driving cab, fingerprints were found and there is additional evidence that support this,” he added.

Media captionA short video of Anis Amri in Berlin in September – uncovered by investigative website Bellingcat

Amri was named as a suspect on Wednesday after his identification papers were found in the truck.

A Europe-wide arrest warrant has been issued amid warnings he may be armed and dangerous. The German authorities have offered a reward of up to €100,000 (£84,000; $104,000) for information leading to his arrest.

Police raids were carried out overnight in Berlin and the western city of Dortmund on apartments believed to be linked to Amri.

Some 80 officers searched a refugee centre in Emmerich in western Germany where he had once stayed.

Image copyright
Reuters

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Big crowds are visiting the reopened Breitscheidplatz market

Image copyright
Reuters

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Concrete barriers have been installed

There is growing criticism of Germany’s security services as details of emerge about Amri and his alleged links to Islamist extremists, the BBC’s Damian McGuinness reports from Berlin.

The 24-year-old, who arrived in Germany in 2015, had been under surveillance by the German authorities this year on suspicion of planning a robbery to pay for automatic weapons for use in an attack.

But the surveillance was reportedly called off after it turned up nothing more than drug-dealing in a Berlin park and a bar brawl.

He was also believed to have links with extremist preacher Ahmad Abdelazziz A, known as Abu Walaa, who was charged last month with supporting so-called Islamic State (IS).

He was also on a US no-fly list, had researched explosives online and had communicated with IS at least once via the Telegram Messenger service, the New York Times reported.

Amri had been due to be deported from Germany in June but stayed because there was a delay in receiving paperwork from Tunisia.

Media captionMuslims at a vigil in Berlin spoke of their love of the city and of Germany

IS has said one of its militants carried out the attack but has offered no evidence.

It is thought Amri may have been injured in a struggle with the Polish driver of the lorry who was found murdered in the cab.

Investigators believe the lorry was hijacked on Monday afternoon when it was parked in an industrial zone in north-western Berlin pending delivery of its cargo of steel beams.

Berlin attack: Family urge suspect to surrender

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