German authorities have been accused of deporting a key suspect in the 2016 Berlin lorry attack to cover up their failure to prevent the atrocity.
During the deadly terror attack, failed asylum seeker and ISIS terrorist Anis Amri ploughed a lorry into shoppers at a Christmas market in the German capital Berlin on 19th December 2016.
Twelve people were killed by the Tunisian asylum seeker, who was shot dead by Italian police near Milan four days later, and over 70 more were injured by his attack.
According to German magazine ‘Focus’, Amri had a close accomplice who has never faced justice for his alleged involvement.
The magazine cited internal documents leaked to them which reportedly detail an investigation into a suspected Moroccan secret service agent named Bilel Ben Ammar, 28.
The suspect arrived in Germany with Amri in 2015, and they both lived in the same asylum centre in Berlin’s Spandau borough.
Ben Ammar, who was also born in Tunisia, allegedly conspired with the Christmas market attacker and even met up with him the night before the lorry attack.
‘Focus’ claimed that the German authorities have CCTV footage of the terror attack which shows a man physically similar to Ben Ammar hitting a passerby on the head with a blunt object which allowed Amri to flee the scene.
According to reports, the man who was struck on the head is still in a coma.
Two hours after the attack, Ben Ammar also reportedly photographed the massacre and sent the pictures to an unknown number.
Nine days after the attack, the German authorities suddenly made the decision “that Amri’s alleged helper had to leave the country”, according to an email sent to the Federal Police and allegedly in the possession of the magazine.
The email is said to read: “With regards to the security authorities and the Federal Interior Ministry, there is significant interest in making sure the deportation is successful.”
A day later, Ben Ammar was arrested and on 1st February 2017 he was reportedly deported to Tunisia despite the ongoing terror attack investigations.
The German authorities have denied the existence of the CCTV footage described in the ‘Focus’ report.
MP Armin Schuster, who heads a parliamentary inquiry committee into the Berlin lorry attack, said they have been investigating Amri for a long time “because we want to clarify the question of whether he was a single offender or had accomplices or helpers, possibly a whole network”.
Schuster said: “In any case, we have not been able to find any evidence during all the investigations so far related to what ‘Focus’ has reported.”
However, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ordered a full investigation into the information cited by the magazine.
According to local media, the parliamentary committee wants the police to interrogate Ben Ammar again, although his current whereabouts are believed to be unknown.