Suspect in Berlin market attack was radicalized in an Italian jail

The Washington Post reports: He was the man nobody wanted.

When Anis Amri washed up on European shores in a migrant boat in April 2011, he landed on the windswept Italian island of Lampedusa already a fugitive. Sought in his native Tunisia for hijacking a van with a gang of thieves, the frustrated Italians would jail him for arson and violent assault at his migrant reception center for minors on the isle of Sicily.

There, his family noted, the boy who once drank alcohol — and never went to mosque — suddenly got religion.

He began to pray, asking his family to send him religious books. The Italian Bureau of Prisons submitted a report to a government ­anti-terrorism commission on Amri’s rapid radicalization, warning that he was embracing dangerous ideas of Islamist ­extremism and had threatened Christian inmates, according to an Italian government official with knowledge of the situation. The dossier was first reported by ANSA, the Italian news service.

The Italians tried to deport Amri but couldn’t. They sent his fingerprints and photo to the Tunisian consulate, but the authorities there refused to recognize Amri as a citizen. The Italians, officials there say, could not even establish his true identity. Italy’s solution: After four years in jail, they released him anyway — giving him seven days to leave the country. [Continue reading…]

Der Spiegel reports: When Amri submitted an application for asylum with the [German] Federal Office of Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in April 2016, he claimed he was an Egyptian and that he was being persecuted in Egypt. When asked follow-up questions by the agency, however, he demonstrated almost no knowledge of the country.

Research into BAMF’s database showed that he had been registered in Germany using multiple identities and dates of birth. Within a matter of only weeks, officials rejected Amri’s asylum application, saying it was “obviously unfounded.” However, they were unable to deport him because he lacked the necessary identification papers. [Continue reading…]

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