March 26, 2017
German criminal police tipped off the interior ministry of a potential “terrorist threat in form of a suicide-attack” by Anis Amri nine month before he ploughed a truck into a crowded Berlin Christmas market, Bild am Sonntag reports.
The State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) apparently shared intelligence (indicating that Amri was plotting a terrorist attack in Germany) with the local federal interior ministry office in Dusseldorf in March 2016 – over half a year before the December attack.
In a confidential letter, seen by Bild am Sonntag, police stated that “according to the data available so far, the forecast can be made that Amri poses a terrorist threat in the form of a (suicide) attack,” citing as evidence some messages the future attacker sent in a chat on February 2, which was monitored by law enforcement.
In a string of cryptic messages, Amri allegedly wrote he was going to marry “a sister” in Germany. As his conversation partner appeared to be unaware of what that meant, Amri clarified his intentions, using the word “Dougma.”
According to the LKA, the word is a “metaphor for a suicide attack.” Based on the report, police advised the interior ministry to arrange the deportation of Amri, a Tunisian national, back to his country of origin, which was not ordered.
The revelations, if true, will deal another blow to the reputation of local law enforcement, which, despite designating Amri a potential threat to the public back in February 2016 and launching multiple probes, continued to insist that there was not enough compelling evidence to charge him with preparing an act of terrorism, even in its aftermath.
“At that time the authorities weren’t aware that Anis Amri will actually commit the attack,” the chief of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state criminal police, Dieter Schuermann, told…