Anis Amri, the Tunisian asylum seeker behind the Berlin Christmas market terror attack, used at least 14 aliases as he travelled from city to city across Germany.
A new report claims that 24-year-old Amri, who came to Germany via Italy as an asylum seeker and killed 12 people on December 19th in Berlin, had at least 14 different identities which he used to register in various asylum centres across Germany, Die Presse reports.
The head of North Rhine-Westphalia state’s criminal police, Dieter Schürmann, told the regional assembly the measures his agency used to track and monitor Amri.
According to Schürmann, the agency “exhausted all legal powers to their limit to ward off potential dangers,” but could not find substantial evidence to bring any formal charges.
North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jäger came to the defence of authorities saying that he was convinced they had gone to the very borders of legality to try and build a case against the terrorist.
Jäger said the case had been examined seven times by the Joint Terror Protection Centre (GTAZ) in Berlin which led the Interior Minister to comment on the need for better cooperation between police and intelligence services across Germany. “We have to talk about how we can provide more security for the people with legal resources,” he said.
Burkhard Schnieder, head of foreigner affairs in the Ministry of the Interior, claimed the GTAZ had rejected any imprisonment for Amri before he could be deported. At the time it would have required a court ruling in order to assess that Amri was a legitimate threat, which the security services felt he was not.
Many have been outraged at the fact Amri was able to move around the country under different names and different identities while still being observed by the security agencies who knew he had contacts with Islamic State. The head of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Frank-Jürgen Weise, even said, “Amri has not slipped through the cracks of BAMF.”
As investigators continue to piece together the background of Amri, more and more questions are being raised. Along with the failed asylum system that allowed him to assume multiple identities and that the security system did not stop the attack, some, like anti mass-migration French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, have blamed the Schengen free movement zone for the ease with which Amri was able to escape from Berlin.