The 23-year-old Pakistini recent asylum seeker who is in police custody as a suspect in the Christmas market attack may not be the right man. Police aren’t saying exactly why they think he isn’t the perp, except that he’s denying that he is, which wouldn’t be enough. My guess is that there are multiple reasons they think they made an error.
Here’s something that caught my eye:
Obama offered condolences for the “horrific apparent terrorist attack,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Apparent? With a dead Polish driver in the car, the terrorist driver fled, and the obviousness of the motive, that’s being ridiculously careful on Obama’s part. At least the word “terrorist” is in there, which is progress for Obama.
And now we learn that the suspect has been released:
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that that the man, a Pakistani citizen who came to Germany last year as an asylum-seeker, denied involvement in the attack that killed 12 people and injured nearly 50 others.
They noted that witnesses were able to follow the truck’s driver from the scene but lost track of him. The man arrested matched witness descriptions of the truck driver, but investigators haven’t been able to prove that he was in the truck’s cab at the time of the attack.
Under German law, prosecutors have until the end of the calendar day following an arrest to seek a formal arrest warrant keeping a suspect in custody.
Let us hope that this really is the wrong man. Or that they are tracking him within an inch of his life. Because otherwise it just points out the folly of dealing with terrorism as though it were an ordinary law enforcement issue.
Here is more information about the Polish driver Luckasz Urban and about the hijacking:
“It was really clear that he was fighting for his life. His face was swollen and bloodied. Police informed me that he had suffered gunshot wounds. Despite being stabbed he was shot dead,” Zurawski told Polish media.
Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydlo, said that the Pole was “the first victim of this heinous act of violence.” Berlin police also said in a tweet that the man who was found dead in the truck did not control the truck that drove to the Christmas market.
Zurawski said Urban arrived with a delivery of steel at a branch of the Thyssenkrupp company in Berlin on Monday at 7 a.m. but was told to wait with his delivery until 8 a.m. the following day.
On Tuesday, Zurawski showed reporters a photo on his phone of his cousin in a kebab bar around 2 p.m., the last photo known of him still alive.
Berlin police chief Klaus Kandt said authorities have the “exact movement of the truck” from GPS but they are not giving details out and that it was only after the attack that the truck’s owner got in touch.
Zurawski said that Urban, who is survived by a wife and teenage son, last had contact with his wife at 3 p.m. local time, but that she couldn’t talk then because she was at work. She said she would call at 4 p.m., but at that point he was no longer answering his phone.
Zurawski described unusual movements on the truck’s GPS at 3:45 p.m. that indicate Urban was not in control.
“The car was started up, turned off, driven forward, then backward. As if somebody inside was learning how to drive,” Zurawski said in a separate interview broadcast on TVP Info, the state broadcaster’s all-news network.
There was no more movement until 7.40 p.m., when the truck started and traveled some 10 kilometers (six miles), sometimes turning in tight spots or crossing the double line, and arrived at the Christmas market, Zurawski said.
RIP to all the victims.
[NOTE: I wonder why the market wasn’t closed to vehicular traffic. Or did the truck just drive past or through barriers? If so, the barriers were clearly inadequate.]