Monday, December 26, 2016

GERMANY - Berlin Truck Attack

"Is Berlin truck attack a turning point for Germany?" PBS NewsHour 12/20/2016


SUMMARY:  Berlin's normally bustling Christmas market was quiet Tuesday, as investigators searched for clues into a truck attack that killed a dozen people and injured 50.  A suspect who was detained after the attack was released due to insufficient evidence, and the Islamic State later claimed responsibility.  From Berlin, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility tonight for the Berlin truck attack that killed a dozen people and injured 50.

That word came hours after German police let their main suspect go.

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Berlin.

MALCOLM BRABANT, Special correspondent:  This normally bustling Christmas market was eerily quiet today, as investigators searched for clues.

Swathed in fog, and with armed guards sealing off the area, Berlin was coming to terms with its new status as a victim of terrorism, after Paris, Brussels, and Nice.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at a morning news conference.

ANGELA MERKEL, Chancellor, Germany (through translator):  There is still a lot that we don't know about this act with sufficient certainty, but we must, as things stand, assume it was a terrorist attack.

MALCOLM BRABANT:  Police detained a Pakistani asylum-seeker shortly after the truck rammed into a crowd of people on Monday.  But, today, he was released, due to insufficient evidence.  Prosecutors said he matched a description of the suspected attacker, but he denied any involvement.

The truck, which had been carrying steel beams, was towed away earlier this morning.  The body of a Polish truck driver was found inside the cabin.  He had been stabbed and shot after being hijacked.  The gun used to kill him has yet to be found.

PROF.  PETER NEUMANN, King's College, London:  It was waiting to happen, no?  I'm not, like, totally surprised.

MALCOLM BRABANT:  Berlin is the hometown of terrorism expert Peter Neumann.  He believes German authorities were too complacent about the possibility of an attack and didn't offer sufficient protection to the Christmas markets.

PROF.  PETER NEUMANN:  I think, in Germany, people have been very blessed with the idea that they would be spared this kind of attack.  And so I don't think that German authorities were thinking as systematically about the threat from terrorism as authorities in Britain have or authorities in other countries.

This will have to change.  And there will be a very uncomfortable discussion in Germany about anti-terrorism measures, but also, of course, about the relationship with Muslim communities and with refugees.

"Berlin attack suspect is a ‘nightmare' for authorities" PBS NewsHour 12/21/2016


SUMMARY:  The manhunt stemming from Monday's Christmas market massacre in Berlin has spread across Europe, and there's a new suspect.  His name is Anis Amri, and he is a 24-year-old asylum seeker from Tunisia.  Judy Woodruff speaks with special correspondent Malcolm Brabant, who is in Berlin, about the suspect's criminal history, the reward for information about him and increased surveillance in Germany.

"Why German surveillance failed to stop the Berlin attack suspect" PBS NewsHour 12/22/2016


SUMMARY:  The man suspected of carrying out an attack on a Christmas market was well known to German authorities.  Anis Amri was under surveillance for six months and slated for deportation, but his home country refused to accept him.  Hari Sreenivasan speaks with Peter Neumann of King's College about how German authorities could have missed the signals.

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