Berlin attack: Police hunt Tunisian suspect after finding ID papers

Updated 4:46 AM EST, Thu December 22, 2016
This is one of at least three photos of  Anis Amri that Germany authorities released on Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Germany authorities say Amri, 24, born in Tunisia, is "under urgent suspicion" in the deadly December 19 truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.
Getty Images
This is one of at least three photos of Anis Amri that Germany authorities released on Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Germany authorities say Amri, 24, born in Tunisia, is "under urgent suspicion" in the deadly December 19 truck attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.
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A policeman and firemen stand next to a truck on December 20, 2016 at the scene where it crashed into a Christmas market near the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin.
German police said they were treating as "a probable terrorist attack" the killing of 12 people when the speeding lorry cut a bloody swath through the packed Berlin Christmas market.
TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images
A policeman and firemen stand next to a truck on December 20, 2016 at the scene where it crashed into a Christmas market near the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin. German police said they were treating as "a probable terrorist attack" the killing of 12 people when the speeding lorry cut a bloody swath through the packed Berlin Christmas market.
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Italian police and forensics experts gather around the body of suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri after he was shot dead in Milan on December 23, 2016.  
The Tunisian man suspected of carrying out the deadly Berlin truck attack at the Christmas market was shot dead by police in Milan on December 23, Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti said. The minister told a press conference in Rome that Anis Amri had been fatally shot after firing at two police officers who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3:00 am (0200 GMT). Identity checks had established "without a shadow of doubt" that the dead man was Amri, the minister said. / AFP / DANIELE BENNATI        (Photo credit should read DANIELE BENNATI/AFP/Getty Images)
DANIELE BENNATI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Italian police and forensics experts gather around the body of suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri after he was shot dead in Milan on December 23, 2016. The Tunisian man suspected of carrying out the deadly Berlin truck attack at the Christmas market was shot dead by police in Milan on December 23, Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti said. The minister told a press conference in Rome that Anis Amri had been fatally shot after firing at two police officers who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3:00 am (0200 GMT). Identity checks had established "without a shadow of doubt" that the dead man was Amri, the minister said. / AFP / DANIELE BENNATI (Photo credit should read DANIELE BENNATI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Police patrol inside the Christmas market area and past the destroyed booths two days after an attack with a truck in front of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin on December 21, 2016.
German police on December 21, 2016 stepped up their hunt for the driver of a truck that ploughed through a Berlin Christmas market, in a deadly assault claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
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Police patrol inside the Christmas market area and past the destroyed booths two days after an attack with a truck in front of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin on December 21, 2016. German police on December 21, 2016 stepped up their hunt for the driver of a truck that ploughed through a Berlin Christmas market, in a deadly assault claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
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Federal prosecutor's office and the Federal Criminal Police Office ask for help with the reconnaissance to the attack on the Christmas market at the Berlin Memorial Church on December 19, 2016!

On December 19, 2016, a saddle truck type Scania, along with trailers with a Polish license plate, arrived at the entrance of the Christmas market at the Ged‰chtniskirche am Breitscheidplatz. The vehicle captured numerous people on the Christmas market and came to a halt after 60-80 meters on the Budapest road. According to a testimony, a person was removed from the vehicle shortly thereafter, and has since been fleeting.

The 24 year old Tunisian citizen Anis AMRI is urgently suspicious of this situation.
BKA
Federal prosecutor's office and the Federal Criminal Police Office ask for help with the reconnaissance to the attack on the Christmas market at the Berlin Memorial Church on December 19, 2016! On December 19, 2016, a saddle truck type Scania, along with trailers with a Polish license plate, arrived at the entrance of the Christmas market at the Ged‰chtniskirche am Breitscheidplatz. The vehicle captured numerous people on the Christmas market and came to a halt after 60-80 meters on the Budapest road. According to a testimony, a person was removed from the vehicle shortly thereafter, and has since been fleeting. The 24 year old Tunisian citizen Anis AMRI is urgently suspicious of this situation.
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BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 20:  The Brandenburg Gate stands illuminated in the colors of the German flag the day before a truck drove into a crowded Christmas market in the city center on December 20, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. So far 12 people are confirmed dead and 45 injured. Authorities have confirmed they believe the incident was an attack and have arrested a Pakistani man who they believe was the driver of the truck and who had fled immediately after the attack. Among the dead are a Polish man who was found on the passenger seat of the truck. Police are investigating the possibility that the truck, which belongs to a Polish trucking company, was stolen yesterday morning.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 20: The Brandenburg Gate stands illuminated in the colors of the German flag the day before a truck drove into a crowded Christmas market in the city center on December 20, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. So far 12 people are confirmed dead and 45 injured. Authorities have confirmed they believe the incident was an attack and have arrested a Pakistani man who they believe was the driver of the truck and who had fled immediately after the attack. Among the dead are a Polish man who was found on the passenger seat of the truck. Police are investigating the possibility that the truck, which belongs to a Polish trucking company, was stolen yesterday morning. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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An ambulance and rescue workers arrive to the area after a lorry truck ploughed through a Christmas market on December 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Several people have died while dozens have been injured as police investigate the attack at a market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the Kurfuerstendamm and whether it is linked to a terrorist plot.
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An ambulance and rescue workers arrive to the area after a lorry truck ploughed through a Christmas market on December 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Several people have died while dozens have been injured as police investigate the attack at a market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the Kurfuerstendamm and whether it is linked to a terrorist plot.
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Rescue forces stand in front of the truck that speed into a Christmas market in Berlin, on December 19, 2016 killing nine persons and injuring at least 50 people. Ambulances and police rushed to the scene after the driver drove up the pavement of the market in a central square popular with tourists less than a week before Christmas, in a scene reminiscent of the deadly truck attack in Nice.
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Story highlights

Anis Amri is being sought in deadly truck attack on Berlin Christmas market

Suspect was held in August and let go, German security official tells CNN

Berlin CNN —  

A manhunt is underway for a 24-year-old Tunisia native in connection with this week’s Christmas market attack in Berlin – a man German authorities say may be “violent and armed” and had been in contact with radical Islamist groups.

Anis Amri is being sought in Monday’s truck attack, which left 12 people dead and 48 injured at Breitsheidplatz, a wanted notice issued Wednesday by the German federal prosecutor’s office said.

Authorities say they're looking for Anis Amri in connection with Monday's market attack in Berlin.
BKA
Authorities say they're looking for Anis Amri in connection with Monday's market attack in Berlin.

Police have offered a reward of up to 100,000 euros (about $104,000) for information about his whereabouts, and said Amri is “under urgent suspicion.”

“If you see this person that we are seeking, inform the police. Please do not put yourself in danger because this person could be violent and armed!” the notice said.

Latest developments

Amri is 1.78 meters (5 feet 10 inches) tall and weighs about 75 kilograms (165 pounds).

The suspect was arrested in August with forged documents en route to Italy, but a judge released him, an official says.

Police at one point noticed the suspect because he was looking for a gun.

The suspect arrived in Germany in 2015 and was known to be in touch with radical Islamist groups, a state minister says.

The suspect’s asylum request was refused this year and deportation was attempted, state minister says.

German police conduct raids in North Rhine-Westphalia region, a security official says.

This is one of at least three photos of  Anis Amri that Germany authorities released.
BKA
This is one of at least three photos of Anis Amri that Germany authorities released.

Hunt for suspect

Amri’s identity papers were found inside the cabin of the truck used in Monday’s attack, German security officials said.

People leave tributes to the Berlin victims. One note reads, "Let your love grow."
Bryony Jones/CNN
People leave tributes to the Berlin victims. One note reads, "Let your love grow."

Before Amri was publicly named, Ralf Jaeger, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, told reporters the suspect was known to German security services as someone in contact with radical Islamist groups, and had been assessed as posing a risk.

One German security official told CNN the suspect had been arrested in August with forged documents in the southern German town of Friedrichshafen, on his way to Italy, but a judge released him. The suspect also came onto the radar of German police because he was looking for a gun, the official said.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière told reporters a manhunt had been underway across Europe since midnight.

Another photo of Amri, released by German authorities.
Getty Images
Another photo of Amri, released by German authorities.

German police carried out raids Wednesday in connection with the investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia, where Amri had stayed, another security official told CNN.

ISIS claimed it had inspired Monday’s attack. The terror group’s affiliated Amaq News Agency described the perpetrator as a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had acted in response to calls for attacks in the West.

Amri was named as a suspect a day after police released a different man. The first man, an asylum seeker believed to be from Pakistan, had been detained in the immediate aftermath of the attack, with German media reporting that witnesses had said he’d driven the truck.

But Peter Frank, general prosecutor at Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, said that forensic tests offered no link between the man and the truck’s cabin.