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Berlin Truck Attacker Raised Finger In IS Salute After Hitting Market

Wed, 4th Jan 2017 17:15

BERLIN (Alliance News) - The Tunisian man who prosecutors say perpetrated last month's terrorist attack in Berlin was filmed by a surveillance camera raising his finger in an Islamic State salute shortly after he ploughed a truck into a crowded Christmas market.

A spokeswoman for prosecutor Frauke Koehler said they assume the man, Anis Amri, displaying the so-called Tawhid gesture, raising an index finger, was apparently aware he was being filmed.

He was captured using that gesture, which means there is only one god, by the video camera at Berlin's Zoo station, which is a short distance from the scene of the December 19 attack.

Koehler said that prosecutors were now sure Amri carried out the attack, in which 12 people were killed, after he hijacked a truck, shot its Polish driver and then drove it into the crowded market in the centre of the German capital.

"Based on our findings and after all the information that we have collected, we assume that Anis Amri committed the attack," said Koehler. "And of course, we also ask ourselves if someone helped him."

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which left about 50 people injured. The claim cannot be independently verified.

Prosecutors also issued an arrest warrant on suspicion of fraud for a 26-year-old associate of Amri, who was living in a Berlin refugee shelter, which was raided by police on Tuesday.

The man, who is also Tunisian, was allegedly seen having dinner with Amri in a Berlin restaurant the night before the attack where the two men were involved in an intensive discussion, Kohler said.

The warrant for fraud was issued after prosecutors failed to establish a case that the 26-year-old Tunisian had been involved in the Berlin attack.

Prosecutors said the 26-year-old, who had two aliases and had been under investigation since earlier this year, committed fraud involving Germany's law for asylum seekers.

Investigators are now examining what they described as various means of communications, which were seized during the raid on his refugee home.

Police also raided on Tuesday the Berlin apartment of one of Amri's former flatmates, who Koehler described as an important witness.

She said Amri's mobile phone, which was found at the scene of the attack, showed that Amri had tried to contact him during the day of the attack but that it was unclear if they had spoken. After fleeing Berlin following the attack, Amri travelled to Italy via the Netherlands and France, prosecutors confirmed.

He was shot dead by Italian police after he pulled a gun and shot and injured one of the officers in the middle a routine check at a railway station near Milan.

German investigators are still trying to establish how Amri had acquired the gun that was used both to kill the Polish driver and to shoot the Italian police officer.

Earlier in the day Italian police had confirmed that the gun used by Amri to shoot the police officer near Milan on December 23 was the same one used to kill the Polish driver.

"#forensics confirm: the weapon that killed Berlin massacre lorry driver the same as the one with which #AnisAmri wounded policeman in Milan," Italian police tweeted.

Copyright dpa

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