Christmas market attack: opposition wants to hear more witnesses | Free press


Berlin (dpa) – The opposition in the Bundestag committee of inquiry into the terrorist attack on the Christmas market in Berlin wants to hear more witnesses based on files from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution that were delivered too late.

Specifically, it concerns information about two men from the vicinity of the Fussilet mosque in Berlin, which was banned in 2017 and in which the later hitman Anis Amri also visited. The Federal Department of the Interior announced in early May, “As part of an evaluation, it was determined that, contrary to previous assumptions, the files had not been sent in full.”

As the minutes of a subsequent hearing of President Thomas Haldenwang by the committee show, an informant from the radical Salafist scene contacted the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution about three months after the attack on Breitscheidplatz. The young man is said to have provided information about another Salafist, who also belonged to the Fussilet area and was seen on the night of the attack on the Breitscheidplatz.

It was the worst Islamic terrorist attack in Germany to date. Amri, a rejected asylum seeker and drug dealer from Tunisia, murdered a truck driver on December 19, 2016. He then raced his vehicle across the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, where he killed eleven other people. The supporter of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia fled to Italy, where he was shot by police.

The commission of inquiry should reveal errors made by the authorities in connection with the attack – for example, why Amri, who had already been identified as an ISIS sympathizer, was not followed more closely. What the MPs of the FDP, the Greens and the left-wing faction are now concerned with, among other things, is the question of whether the whistleblower was also asked about Amri – which would have been self-evident given the circumstances. . An employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, who met him at the time, should provide information about this.

How the commission, which had actually already completed its witness examination, will now proceed, has not yet been definitively clarified. Martina Renner (left), Irene Mihalic (Greens) and Benjamin Strasser (FDP) said in a joint statement: “After the late delivery of new files, we have other important questions about the attacker’s Berlin network and especially about the actions of the attacker. authorities Liaison with the Amri case. “A resumption of the taking of evidence on this aspect is therefore inevitable. The Union and the SPD should not block this with their majority in committee.

The president of the Union, Volker Ullrich (CSU), sees it differently. He told the German news agency that a new taking of evidence could only be objectively justified if there was relevant news in the files that were subsequently submitted; but this is not the case. It is therefore more important than questioning other witnesses to finalize the report on the work of the committee in the remaining weeks of the session and to discuss it in the Bundestag plenary.