Berlin Christmas market terrorist Anis Amri has been shot and killed by police in northern Italy.
It’s not that the police managed to trace his movements, but it seems that “a tip” (more about that later) led police in Italy to think he might have arrived there, and regular police work (stopping a suspicious man and asking for papers) led to the shootout that left one officer wounded and Amri dead.
You might think it would have been even better to have captured him alive, in order to take advantage of what he knows. However—knowing the way Europeans law works these days—he probably wouldn’t have talked, and he probably would have been let out in a year or two, or perhaps even while awaiting trial.
Yes, that last comment is sarcastic (I doubt at this point he would actually have been released). But my bitterness and cynicism comes from the fact that this man had a rap sheet that should have already precluded his being free and roaming around Berlin to wreak the havoc he was so obviously planning.
At any rate, we can be grateful for the two Italian policemen who stopped him:
ISIS news outlet Amaq today confirmed Amri’s death – and that he carried out the market massacre in Germany.
Security chiefs believe Amri, who used at least six different aliases with three nationalities, was trying to flee to southern Italy where he had entered Europe illegally in 2011.
Police, who had received a tip-off Europe’s most wanted man may have been in the city, approached Amri because they were suspicious that anyone was at the station at 3am.
The terminal had earlier been closed for the night and officials are trying to work out whether he may in fact have arrived in the suburb, north of the city, by bus.
When the patrol approached him, he said he had no ID papers, no phone and just a small pocket knife. But he then pulled a 22 calibre pistol from his backpack and shot one of the two police officers, Christian Movio, 36, in the shoulder.
Amri ran for cover and cowered behind a car in a piazza near the station before being shot dead by trainee officer Luca Scata, 29, who had only been in the job for nine months.
On Amri’s body police found a train ticket that helped reconstruct the attacker’s movements in Berlin, revealing how he took a train from Chambery in France and then from Turin to Milan. But it is not clear whether he had driven from Berlin to Chambery or taken a 1,000-mile train trip all the way to Milan via Frankfurt – the normal rail route to the south of France.
So we have a situation in which the authorities were on high alert for this man, and yet he was able to travel across Europe’s porous and almost-nonexistent borders in the wake of the attack. What’s wrong with this picture? Nearly everything.
Amri also made the obligatory selfie video declaring his allegiance to ISIS, which has been released now that he’s dead. Obviously there is a network of people in Europe (and probably elsewhere) who knew about him and his plans, and assisted him. Here’s a little possible clue about that; it’s easy to miss if the article is read quickly:
[The shootout with Amri] comes hours after two men were arrested at a mosque in Berlin where Amri is believed to have been seen both before and after his murderous rampage.
Are these two men the source of the tip that led police to suspect where Amri might be? We may never know.
This issue of networks of help for jihadis throughout Europe and this country was the subject of the draft of a post I had readied yesterday evening, before Amri was found and killed. Here it is, and you’ll see that it’s relevant to the story that later emerged.
…Gatestone Institute’s superb analyst Soeren Kern recently published a jaw-dropping report, “Inside Germany’s No-Go Zones,” part one of which focuses on North Rhine–Westphalia. It is Germany’s most populous state, and it just happens to be where Anis Amri lived — in housing set aside for asylum seekers.
Kern observes that the German press has identified more than 40 “problem areas” across the country…
How do these communities operate in practice? Kern relates:
The president of the German Police Union, Rainer Wendt, told Spiegel Online years ago: “In Berlin or in the north of Duisburg there are neighborhoods where colleagues hardly dare to stop a car — because they know that they’ll be surrounded by 40 or 50 men.” These attacks amount to a “deliberate challenge to the authority of the state — attacks in which the perpetrators are expressing their contempt for our society.”
If we are lucky, Anis Amri will be apprehended before long, and before he can strike again. It is entirely possible, though, that he will remain on the lam for some time. Like Salah Abdeslam and other jihadists, he is not without places to go.
These are areas where the rule of German law is non-existent. And they are growing in area, and not just in Germany.
What is the solution (and will the countries of the Western world implement it, if they even could identify it)? Is there a solution? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but the West seems stymied and almost paralyzed by its own dedication to tolerance, fairness, and respect for other cultures. But lawlessness and murder are not a culture to respect, and letting known jihadis go free is not a solution.
The violations of law are not limited to terrorism, not by a longshot. There is more ordinary criminality as well. The following is from the Kern article:
Police say they are alarmed by the brutality and aggression of the clans, who are said to view crime as leisure activity. If police dare to intervene, hundreds of clan members are mobilized to confront the police.
A 17-page report prepared for the NRW State Parliament revealed how Lebanese clans in Duisburg divide up certain neighborhoods in order to pursue their criminal activities, such as robbery, drug dealing and extortion.
“Further data collection is not legally permissible. Both internally and externally, any classification that could be used to depreciate human beings must be avoided. In this respect, the use of the term ‘family clan’ is forbidden from the police point of view.” — Ralf Jäger, Interior Minister, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Please read the whole thing.
The Kern article is terrifying in its implications. And neither Kern nor McCarthy even suggest an approach for dealing with the situation as it now is. Obviously, calling a halt to further immigration from terrorist-laden Muslim countries would help, but it is not going to change what’s going on right now. The governments of Europe are never going to clear these people out and deport them, which would have to be an almost military action.
In addition, not all the perpetrators are recent arrivals by any means. Some are full-fledged citizens, many born in the European countries (or the US), or are even converts.
It’s no wonder, though, that both in this country and in Europe, the population is ready to throw out the parties that helped to create this situation and the conundrums it presents.
[ADDENDUM: Here are a few more facts I’d like to highlight from Amri’s checkered past:
In 2011 [Amri] dodged prison in his native Tunisia after fleeing following a violent robbery. He was jailed for five years in absentia.
He arrived in Italy in 2011, arriving on the small island of Lampedusa amongst thousands of people fleeing the Arab Spring uprisings. He pretended to be a child migrant – even though he was 19 – but then rioted inside his detention centre, which was set on fire. He was then jailed for four years, serving it in two prisons on Sicily.
After his release Italy failed to deport him twice because Tunisia refused to take him back and he fled Italy via the Alps for Germany, meaning he probably went via Milan.
Amri’s story highlights so many things. One of them, of course, is that eventual terrorist murderers are ordinarily not strangers to the authorities, often in several European nations. And yet they slip away. Their ability to travel within Europe from country to country, to evade deportation even when they clearly merit it, and to get the help of like-minded jihadis and jihadi sympathizers all across Europe is an outrage. And we are supposed to trust that the authorities have the immigration situation under control, and are effectively screening and monitoring the arrivals? Even when the person comes in waving multiple red flags and shrieking “I am a jihadi!,” it doesn’t seem to matter much.]