October 21, 2017

Tunisian sought over market deaths – reports

tyrGerman police are searching for a Tunisian over Monday’s Berlin Christmas market attack, media reports say.
According to a temporary-stay permit found in the cab of the lorry that ploughed into crowds, the man, named as Anis A, was born in 1992 in the city of Tataouine, the reports say.
A police operation is said to be under way in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia where the permit was issued.
Reports say the suspect may have been injured in a struggle with the driver.
According to the newspapers Allgemeine Zeitung and Bild, the Tunisian suspect is aged 21 or 23 and is also known to use false names.
He applied for asylum in April and was given a temporary residence permit the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.
Broadcaster N-TV said “measures are now imminent” in North Rhine-Westphalia but there are no details.
Officials have not confirmed the reports so far.
Twelve people died and 49 were injured when the truck was driven into crowds at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market.
So-called Islamic State (IS) said one of its militants carried out the attack, but has offered no evidence.
It has emerged that the original driver of the truck may have fought the attacker as the vehicle was being driven into the market.
Polish citizen Lukasz Urban was found dead on the passenger seat with gunshot and stab wounds.
Investigators quoted by German media say there is evidence that, despite being stabbed, Mr Urban wrestled him for the steering wheel.
One official quoted by Bild newspaper said it appeared from the post-mortem examination that the driver had survived up to the attack and was shot dead when the truck came to a halt. No gun has been recovered.
Ariel Zurawski, the owner of the Polish transport company, said he had been asked to identify Mr Urban from photographs.
“His face was swollen and bloodied. It was really clear that he was fighting for his life,” he told broadcaster TVN.
Company manager Lukasz Wasik described Mr Urban as a “good, quiet and honest person” and said he believed he would have defended the truck “to the end”.
Police say they are acting on hundreds of tips from the public and are examining DNA traces from the cab of the truck.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said he was confident that the person responsible would be caught soon.
German President Joachim Gauck visited some of the injured on Wednesday.
Speaking outside the Charite Hospital in Berlin, he said: “They should feel that they are not alone and that apart from the doctors here, people across the country are hoping and waiting for them to recover.”
Officials released the only detained suspect on Tuesday, saying there was no evidence to link him to the attack.
The man, a Pakistani national named as Naved B, was detained about 1km (0.6 miles) from the market but strongly denied any involvement.
Police said there were no forensic clues to link him to the vehicle, and had expressed doubt about his involvement soon after his arrest.
IS claimed the attack through its self-styled Amaq news agency, saying it was “in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition countries”.
Prosecutor Peter Frank told reporters that the style of attack and the choice of target suggested Islamic extremism.
But Mr de Maiziere reacted cautiously to the claim, saying “several lines of investigation” were being pursued.
Monday’s incident mirrored the lorry attack on Bastille Day crowds in the French city of Nice on 14 July, which was also claimed by IS.
Both IS and al-Qaeda have urged their followers to use vehicles as a means to attack crowds.

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