CATF Reports Dec. 22, 2016, 1:00pm


Europe’s manhunt for Anis Amri started about 24 hours ago, when German authorities issued an arrest warrant for the driver of the lorry truck that on December 19 at approximately 8:30 pm deliberately careened into the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and wounding over 48 people. The truck was directed towards a pedestrian area before steering back to the street, in scrupulous compliance with ISIS’ tactical guidelines on the planning and execution of vehicle attacks offered in ISIS’ Rumiyah November edition. The suspect remains at large, although he left behind damning evidence of his identity in the truck that turned investigations into a feverish multi-agency, international search for the fugitive.

A 24-year old Tunisian national who disguised his identity through aliases and counterfeit documents, Anis Amri lived in Berlin since February 2016 and applied for asylum in April 2016. First known to German authorities for his supposed links with radical preacher Ahmad Abdellaziz (also known as Abu Walaa), an Iraqi Salafist arrested on November 8, 2016 for his role as ISIS recruiter and supporter, Amri was placed under covert surveillance upon suspicion of plotting an attack on German soil. While German intelligence and law enforcement authorities flagged Amri as a potential threat for German security months ago, Amri could not be deported due to his lack of passport and to Tunisia’s delay in issuing a valid document. Amri was also on a U.S. no-fly list for his online search for bomb-making material and supposed contact with ISIS affiliates at least once via Telegram.

German intelligence and security agencies remain under high pressure as the perpetrator was among the hundreds of individuals monitored for links to radical Islamists, just like in France and Belgium’s most recent attacks. However, a source quoted by the New York Times stressed that close surveillance for such a high number of individuals – 549 for Germany – would entail about 40 agents assigned to each suspect and thus is entirely impracticable. Aside from the political consequences of this attack in a country set for elections next year, it appears that Europe’s counterterrorism challenges are rising to a new level of unpredictability against which security agencies may be powerless.

From The New York Times:

The failure to keep him in custody and deport him suggests that Germany, which prides itself on a can-do efficiency, is suffering the same breakdowns as France and Belgium in allowing people known to the authorities to carry out acts of horrific violence.

The aftermath has left Chancellor Angela Merkel even more isolated and embattled for her decision to allow nearly a million asylum seekers to come to Germany unchecked in 2015.”

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