Germany: Cops say suspect ‘used six names’

Ellen Whinnett in Berlin, Staff Writers, wires, Herald Sun

POLICE have identified Anis Amri as the new suspect in the Berlin market attack, claiming he has used six different names and three nationalities.

Prosecutors say he is a 24-year-old Tunisian national, who should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

Three German newspapers are reporting that police are searching for Amri in the North Rhine-Westphalia district near Cologne, south-west of the capital Berlin.

According to the reports, documents from Germany’s asylum seeker office were found in the truck which was deliberately driven into a crowd at the Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Breitscheidplatz, near the Berlin Zoo, killing 12 people and injured 48 others.

This handout computer screen grab shows a copy of the arrest warrant over a Tunisian man identified as Anis Amri. Picture: AFP

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed that authorities have identified a new suspect.

“There is a new suspect we are searching for – he is a suspect but not necessarily the assailant,” he told reporters.

Der Speigel reports that Amri regularly changed his place of residence and his identity. In Berlin he was captured as Ahmad Z or Mohammed H from Egypt. On another occasion, he said he was from Lebanon.

German media said that he had been in contact with a “network of leading Islamist ideologists.”

Related:

CHRISTMAS MARKET STABBING: Migrant KNIFES fellow asylum seeker in German town of Dobeln

AN ASYLUM seeker was knifed by another migrant at a Christmas market in Germany just days before 12 people were killed in Monday’s terror attack in Berlin, police have revealed.

Police had arrested a 23-year-old Pakistani man near the scene immediately after the attack, but released him late on Tuesday night due to a lack of evidence.

The photo issued by German federal police shows 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri on a photo that was used on the documents found in the truck. Picture: AP

It’s believed no DNA evidence or gunshot residue linking the man, Naved B, to the scene was found in the truck’s cab.

Also last night, reports emerged that the Polish truck driver who was hijacked, Lukasz Urban, may have still been alive when the truck was driven into the market.

It had been thought Mr Urban died somewhere between 3pm and 4pm when his truck was hijacked. His body was found in the passenger seat of the truck. He had been stabbed and shot.

There are reports emerging that he may have been alive and potentially trying to stop the attack when he was shot.

The reports had not been verified last night.

Security sources have told news agency DPA that police are planning an “imminent” operation in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia related to the attack.

Jihadist group Islamic State have formally claimed responsibility for the attack, however mystery surrounds the truck lorry’s final moments before it ploughed into a crowd of people.

An investigator reportedly told Bild News there “must have been a fight” despite initial reports the Polish truck driver had been killed before the terror attack.

A man prays in front of candles and flowers at candles at Breitscheidtplatz market. Picture: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

Bild reported the terrorist drew a knife and stabbed the truck driver several times while he was attempting to halt the attack, however this is yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Meanwhile, The Sun reported German police had “botched” their hunt for the killer by arresting a man who had jumped a red light.

The innocent Pakistani refugee was taken into custody after being singled out for the minor traffic offence a kilometre down the road from the atrocity, the news agency reported.

And today as sheepish police conceded they have given the real killer an 18-hour head-start, they admitted: “We cried hurrah too quickly.”

Police and intelligence agencies are trying to work out whether the attack was carried out by a “lone wolf’’ single attacker, or if he was supported by others.

Federal criminal police chief Holger Munch said police were on “high alert.’’

“We need to work on the assumption that an armed perpetrator is still on the loose,” he said.

“We … are investigating every possible angle.”

The manhunt is underway for perpetrator of the horrific Berlin truck attack. Picture: AFP

Federal prosecutor Petter Frank told a press conference that it wasn’t clear if the man was acting alone or as part of a group.

The man is known to have fled the truck after it came to a standstill in the market, pulling a mask off his face as he ran.

Berlin police said they had received 508 leads to their tip-line.

Investigators were trawling through hundreds of photographs and videos taken by survivors at the market on their mobile phones.

Berlin police revealed last night that half of those injured had been released from hospital.

“We are full of hope, 24 injured people were able to leave hospital again and return to their relatives,’’ they tweeted.

But there are concerns for several others who were critically injured when the fast-moving truck smashed through the market, with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warning: “we cannot rule out the possibility that there will be more victims’’.

In Italy, fears were growing for 31-year-old woman Fabrizia Lorenzo, who lives in Berlin but has has not been heard of since Monday night.

The person responsible is thought to have access to a firearm, used to kill the Polish truck driver whose semi-trailer was hijacked earlier on Monday. Picture: AP

Her mobile phone and public transport card were found at the scene and Italian media reported her brother and sister had flown in to Berlin to provide DNA samples to police.

An Israeli woman is also missing feared dead after attending the market on Monday night. Media reports say she was a tourist visiting with her husband, who was severely injured.

While jihadists had been claiming credit online for the attacks, it was not until late Tuesday night that the so-called Islamic State formally claimed responsibility.

In a statement through their Amal news agency, the extremist group said: “A soldier of the Islamic State carried out the Berlin operation in response to appeals to target citizens of the crusader coalition countries.’’

Unlike the US, France, Jordan and Australia, Germany is not a part of the coalition striking Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq but does provide logistical support from Turkey.

The market square in Breitscheidplatz remains cordoned off, with police armed with machine guns guarding the streets, and white hoarding closing off the area where the truck caused the most carnage, smashing through stalls, tables and chairs and striking market-goers as they shopped, ate and drank.

Makeshift shrines of candles and flowers remain in place around the square. The famed Brandenburg Gate was lit in the colours of the German flag overnight.

Originally published as Cops say suspect ‘used six names’