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tv   Close up - The Attack - How Terrorism Came to Berlin  Deutsche Welle  December 20, 2017 4:15am-5:00am CET

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my first vice a was a sewing machine. where i come from women are bound by this notion for. something as simple as learning how to ride a bicycle isn't. since i was a little girl i wanted to have the bicycle of my home but it took me years to. finally they gave up and went on buying me and i say this but returned with the sewing machine sewing i suppose was more appropriate for girls than riding a bike and now i want to meet our boss woman back home who are bound by their duties and social goals and inform them about the basic rights my name is the better of the home and i work at the gym.
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butlins bride child cancer year after the attack on the evening of december nineteenth twenty sixteen astrid parsons father was killed here. the mood here just within the mother coming here always brings it all back it makes me feel so nervous and emotional because this is the place that brought this horror upon us because of what. twelve people from six countries were killed in the attack more than sixty people were injured. is it up what's up they thought it was the worst islamist terror attack germany had experienced. enough to go to school. because. like
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a garbage can being emptied people but i didn't really register at first when i look up and see the truck coming through the entry lane between the two big. it drives right through my standard through the opposite road just half a meter away from our grabbed my wife and pulled her into the nearest building somehow that seemed logical i didn't know what was going to happen and attack a ball machine gun. the weapon here was a thirty ton lorry. ok one thing if at some point the driver's door opened he jumped out in a single bound and ran off really fast like he knew where he was going. i thought he was a pathetic coward. the driver was. a twenty three year old tunisian whose request for asylum in europe had been denied a petty criminal and drug dealer but also known to police as a radical islamist designated
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a dangerous person known to fifty different german government agencies had been under observation for months. could this attack have been prevented if think of the fix this is here for the sidewall i think the most important thing is to find out who is responsible and why this terrorist attack was even possible. in this before . we have to find a way to come to terms with this attack to find some inner peace if that's at all possible notice and can. and as our mary was not a lone wolf he was supported by an international terrorist network with a base in berlin germany security official should not have been surprised by the attack. eighteen months prior
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a video declaration of war against germany by the so-called islamic state or. it will eat up up here until this is. the message. terrorist sleeper cells in germany would attack the coup far or unbelievers with everyday weapons like vehicles chemicals or nine s. . the author and singer of the threatening statement was germany's most sought after terrorist at the time when dennis cruise power seen here in two thousand and twelve with the group passing out copies of the koran shortly after he and fellow islam ists headed to i as in syria from there he maintained his contacts with berlin and also with the leaders of a mosque that was to play a central role in the christmas market attack. the food mosque was an islamic state base in the german capital these are some of
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the first published images from inside the mosque. this is where connected with the i.r.s. network in germany he also slept here on occasion as shown by this selfie an acquaintance of omri who attended the mosque remembers him he wants to remain anonymous he let the prayers in smaller groups when it was prayer time he took over that role he knew the koran pretty well sometimes he'd be there every day for a week there not at all for three weeks his behavior was a little mysterious. the terrorist amery visited the mosque an hour before the attack is this where he got a blessing for the deed unnoticed by security officials. the store front mosque is located close to the security zone around berlin's government district not far from
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the chancellor's office the parliament buildings and the interior ministry nonetheless the mosque became a meeting place for terrorists right under the eyes of all far. it is. the leaders of the mosque themselves called it the mosque of ayers supporters in berlin. in the months after the attack four board members in moms and activists connected with the mosque were arrested amery may have prepared the attack on the christmas market here the lorry he hijacked for the attack was parked a brief wark from the mosque and before the attack he made a video nearby announcing that he would slaughter infidels as he put it. the i.r.s. mosque in berlin may have been the starting point of the attack but he began much earlier than previously known. and right under the eyes of security officials.
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august first twenty fifteen nearly a year and a half before the attack the alleged head of a group recruiting ayers find his in germany abu alaa left the city of hilda's haim where he was based and traveled to the berlin mosque salafist preacher was known to all forages in his videos he hid his face from the camera his conspiratorial so-called islam seminar was observed by state security participants laid aside their cell phones to avoid eavesdropping and met in the basement. a short time later and as amery joined this circle at the time he was under occasional observation by the police and as here by domestic intelligence. amery became a conduit between the mosque and leaders of abu will last terrorist network. investigators in north rhine-westphalia later wrote that abu were larger had an
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exclusive relationship to. six months before the attack abu alaa allegedly blessed amery during a thirty minute private audience and may have authorized the attack they discussed . so it appears the christmas market attacker was long under investigation by the all forages. pater cheers man lost his wife nadia in the attack looking at her pictures in the family album is painful to choose my son die of it he was four when he lost his mother. this is his way of forgetting. that at first he hardly showed any reaction now the boy is plagued by separation anxiety he often comes to his father's bed at night and shakes him there's.
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a problem is that he started checking if i'm alive. every half hour. here understands that not all people are good and he's afraid. and like sitting outside a cafe. with a little he's afraid that someone will come and killers things like that. is raising his son as a single parent he works and has to rely on daycare for dad it for months he received no help from local authorities. city police say he thought the police always find missing people and catch the bad guys when he watches t.v. it's always like that. but in this case it wasn't you personally to in this case it is an endless story of failures on the part of security agencies.
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it starts in italy in twenty eleven with a violent riot and arson in a refugee center one of the perpetrators is a nineteen year old petty criminal from tunisia and it's on rape he receives a four year prison sentence is data is recorded in the schengen information system the f.b.i.'s. the information should have prevented armoring from entering germany but he gets through due to lack of controls. in july twenty fifteen the islamist is released from jail armory arrives in five dogs in southern germany claiming to be a refugee police take his finger and hand prints and store them in the joint federal and state police database but they do not match them up with us i asked data. using more than
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a dozen different identities amery moves around germany under false names he applies for i.d.'s and social welfare in several towns later he asks for asylum initially but not a single agency takes notice. this is the third story in there. for more than a year lives officially in a refugee shelter in emigration but he is rarely there only to pick up his regular welfare check under the name of mohammed has. not only robs the german state as mohammed has a he also robs other residents of the m.r.i. shelter. he came in early in the morning around four or five o'clock when he left the cell phone was missing from the table
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and he was gone again we filed charges with the police. of the man with a polish after red shoes needs more and more cell phones for his conspiratorial contacts and the islamist scene in october twenty fifteen another refugee reports that amery is watching i asked videos on his phone soon he is said to be talking about plans for an attack including one with a kalashnikov. for the first time alias mohammed has appears in the files of security or thor it is at north rhine-westphalia state criminal police office to be scrutinised for islam islam but the officials do not seem to have informed local police or other agencies. so for a year no one in m.l.a. from the social worker to the man suspected there is a highly dangerous islamist in their town. this is and they
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get theirs and it's incredible that a municipality that is truly affected should get absolutely no information from what's on the call the idea doesn't just. to get in the circuit where we are the weakest link in that chain. and so of course what remains is the suspicion and sadness and a bit of anger that as we know the data and identities were known. that he did it because we were left alone with these people. that they list. in north rhine-westphalia hoax up with other islam is too are known to police one controversial contact is induced walk there a member of the abu were large group offers islam seminars in the back room of a travel agency officials now believe that fighters were sent out from here and future attackers were. radicalized the suspected mastermind who was later imprisoned claimed to know nothing of amery.
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no i don't know him lots of people come here i don't know if he came here or not. i'm really also lives in the city of under another alias his official address is in a container village for refugees he occasionally spends the night in one base of the abu alaa group a qur'an school in an apartment in dortmund here he comes to the attention of a much older more experienced man who is admired by young islam ists like amery he calls himself more at. he was the most radical one. he used to say to the guys come on you don't have identity papers do something here carry out an attack i can confirm one hundred percent that he tried it with me too you have nothing to lose come on let's do something here. the alleged agitator becomes a kind of father figure for amerie he drives him around in his car but not only to
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take him to extremist meetings. in fact more add his secretly working as a regular informant for the north rhine-westphalia state office of criminal investigation code named of e.p.o. one he is not only assigned to amery he also informs officials about plans by the suspected terrorists linked to the alleged i.r.s. top man in germany abu alaa five. flater prosecutors based part of their case against abu alaa on reports by one but during the trial the officials were blamed for failing to rein in their informant. also i got it based on my own research i know that he told various people let's kill these unbelievers we need good men to carry out attacks in germany and i have more than one source for that he really
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inside people to do that. an incredible charge v p o one even admitted to his controller during several interrogations that he had talked about attacks in germany. quote as agreed to i deliberately presented myself as ready to attack i mean you gave me the assignment to position myself so as to get close to people who might be planning attacks and obtain information. worthy officials in north rhine-westphalia and their informant playing with fire one of amorous close associates reported a conversation with a v.p. no one around six months before the christmas market attack. he told domestic intelligence officials that the alleged informant had said in a one on one conversation that he was looking for a reliable man for an attack with
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a truck. in early twenty sixteen years under observation and his telephone is tapped v.p. no one reports on him regularly by this point security officials realize how dangerous the tunas ian is. that amery was looking on the internet for ways of manufacturing explosives that he was planning an attack with automatic rifles or a suicide attack with an explosive belt to kill for allah. is categorized as a dangerous person and kept under observation during this time he fulfills an important function for the author orators as a source of information on the abu alaa group a kind of informant who doesn't know he is informing. in february twenty sixth seen takes a bus from dortmund to berlin there hears checked by security officials from the
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berlin police amery is picked up and photographed his cell phone is confiscated but not really analyzed neither by officials in north rhine-westphalia nor member len. a former chief investigator with links to the berlin criminal police office is not surprised by this omission on the part of the berlin police. initiatory. the reason for the failure to evaluate armories phone is perfectly clear the lack of staff everywhere . we have a backlog of cases in computer forensics meaning that hundreds of cell phones and computers will only be examined and analyzed two or three years later. fatal negligence the cell phone contained pictures of omri armed with a pistol in the berlin i asked mask from which he later carries out the attack a note by the federal criminal police office says it is unclear if the gun in the
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photo is real or not. knives machetes and a pledge of allegiance to islamic state those pictures should have sounded alarm bells with a bell and police. it was it off it's surely that would have led to immediate action being taken. if you. if you take a look at these dangerous persons how many pictures do you think they post just think of crisper to take a well known name what an amount of stuff you put on the internet. these people love posing with weapons that's no big surprise really no surprise our normal experience investigator wouldn't be alarmed i wouldn't be alarmed because i know that these kinds of people like to stage themselves with weapons. that's part one we do they need they have an islamist designated as a dangerous person ready to use violence and he has a weapon in any normal criminal case that would be needed the police to take
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appropriate action to check his identity and then you would know who you were dealing with is not only of the photos in a cell phone cause for alarm so as am restored chant with an eye as instructor in it ten months before the attack i'm a declares himself ready for an islamist code word for trigger or a suicide mission. the highly charged data on a cell phone was not analyzed. although security agencies had agreed to do so in such cases federal and state criminal investigation officers coordinate their activities with intelligence services at the gate tatts the joint counterterrorism center in berlin the name appears on the agenda seven times clearly he was seen as a top dangerous person. he never thoroughly and representative in the game told me there was hardly any other person who had been so intensely and so often dealt with. or if behind the word of the only. the data was expected to reveal
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concrete information for a decision on further steps to be taken against amery that is why the state criminal police offices in berlin and north rhine-westphalia were supposed to analyze the data promptly and agreements which neither agency carried out systematically. that's been the. but for example it's quite significant also striking that in february they dealt with twice with the confiscated phone data and the analysis of it. but then for months no one asked what happened with the analysis but. apparently this was no exception in a joint counterterrorism center and not just in the case of amery according to an officer who worked there for years the reports aren't worth the paper they're written on they talk about the current status somebody takes on the case but what
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comes out of it is nothing. there's a lot in it so that people are covered so you can say we reported it in official drug and they say report it and you're in the clear. the data on am or a smartphone remains undiscovered after a few hours in police detention he is released. more than six months after the entangle astrid person whose father was killed at the christmas market was shocked by news reports about mistakes by security officials. she joined up with other victims and hired a lawyer. here companies her to an appointment with the head of berlin's amery investigative committee burkhardt rageh. ok we can't get it out of our heads it's always with us. what a traumatic event feels. yes i'm seeing
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a therapist about it there are so many questions and so few answers that you know we will be providing answers i can assure you of that and if mistakes have been made they will of course have to be made public or we all have that common goal that something like this must never happen again we owe that to the victims. to the sinfield in all forms. since then astrid passon has regularly attended the investigative committees sessions this time pilots national clusters has joined her from north rhine-westphalia his mother was killed in the attack he's also looking for answers. to floors all tamale we want to know which mistakes were made and we want them to be made public that would give us a little inner peace definitely. the families of the victims want to be able to ask their own questions they don't want to leave it all up to the politicians and especially to the agencies that failed in the run up to the attack. his and.
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shocked and horrified that so many mistakes were made this is especially depressing for us and makes us victims all over again because it could have been prevented. maybe steps could have been taken before hand to protect us. over the mass was on the police radar over and over again it took years before it was closed down why because the responsible case officer was on long term sick leave. when it. they should have tried to ban it for ages in a case like this you can't just wait for some caseworker to get well again or until you can hire someone you have to feel the post temporarily otherwise the organization is to blame. organiser. instead security officials watch and wait the police station across the street sense up
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a hidden camera to carry out surveillance on. it captures images around the clock. at the same time tailed and his telephones are tapped because the confiscated cell phone has still not been analyzed the investigations on suspected terrorism charges made little headway and shadowing for suspect proves useless. as. it was quite surprising to have an observation that was being carried out basically during office. it was noticeable that the observation usually ended in the early evening in the wind and what i found astonishing was that observation was limited to the period from monday to friday. that was quite remarkable from the governor. meanwhile the officers listening in on
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amorous calls notice that he is earning money as a drug dealer a lot of money. the problem is the information the berlin state criminal police office collect from the wiretaps is not handed over to those telling amery this but i did it as the observer at c. one and glavine meant the observation was basically coming to nothing and if there's more than. let me explain that using an example in talks with a potential cocaine purchaser on two evenings one after another. he meet up with her at a particular spot to hand over the drugs. then the ideal arrangement would have been to get the observation going based on the wiretap information. and then grabbed him when the drug transaction was taking place. it was over but i'm obviously disposed of because it's too closed. but that didn't happen in mid twenty
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six team half a year before the attack the berlin police ended the surveillance although they knew about the drug dealing and the contacts in the scene and the courts had ordered found the observation. and even though amery was labeled priority number one all one as a on the list of islamist dangerous persons in berlin. this up. there were some mistakes that i couldn't believe were possible that was something i could hardly have imagined if you have the legal right to carry out observations for three months more than three months nearly four months long and you end the observation after six weeks. you feel we have close to one hundred dangerous persons in our focus and we're working under a huge amount of pressure in this area. who. we always know that we can't really
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keep each person under observation round the clock for the entire year. so it's not surprising that you have to expect it to happen that at some point one of them slips through and we don't recognize a crime that's being planned and that's what happened. and you know i think it landed on your case just as of course you know. the real background is the drastic lack of specialized staff for surveillance at the state criminal police office. the potential danger was criticized banking twenty fifteen on berlin's main news program by the head of the staff council of the agency at the time. we don't even have ten task forces trained for this kind of work you have an eye for this kind of thing i can say that we have ten times too little staff and technology. in my opinion it's a stroke of luck that nothing has happened yet i think we're sitting on
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a powder keg. but yes it shocks and saddens me that those prophecies came true. before the attack police had counted at least seventy four potential terrorists in berlin alone at that time the state criminal police office had just eight mobile units specialized in surveillance around the clock observation on just one potential terrorist would require three search teams so the german capital was only equipped to carry out to all day observations. thus highest per year with that means you have to prioritize and that means dropping other cases. so the risk is that these people the potential terrorists do things or suddenly disappear and we don't know where they are are they preparing an attack or have they left the country and so forth. and the
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police did not tell the state prosecutor in charge that i am a surveillance had suddenly been dropped and that the joint counterterrorism center the berlin police pretended that the observation was still ongoing according to the minutes from the day the observation was ended completely quote the girl in state criminal police office is continuing the current measures under its own jurisdiction but cannot guarantee operative measures to the same extent. the statement is open to interpretation i don't know what it meant and what it was supposed to convey. that's typical of official minutes you want to cover your back the burden state criminal police office could have said the observation was being ended but then they would have had to justify that either by saying that our memory was less than dangerous or that there weren't enough personnel but that would have meant asking for help from brandenburg or saxony or from the federal criminal police office or domestic intelligence but berlin always had to be the greatest
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they didn't want to say that they couldn't do it if the police had continued to tell amery they might have soon caught him red handed. in a contest bar in berlin amery and his associates attacked a rival group of dealers. a private surveillance camera shows amery armed with a hammer. his companion is attacking with a knife. the investigators heard about the violent assault from wiretaps but again no immediate action was taken. a short while later berlin investigators put false entries in the files about their detailing of the drug dealer and potential terrorist. the case worker in charge claimed that quote the observation measures carried out in parallel did not reveal any dealing activities by amery this is for that is pretty strange it insinuates that the
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observation was continuing. on and off the field and. that is also why a number of other investigations fizzled out am i was afraid that the police were after him for the knife attack he wanted to go to tennessee and the police found out about the travel plans from his tap cell phone they got a fix on him in a bus in southern germany federal police stopped the bus and detained him. he was carrying two forged italian i.d.'s. amery was taken before a magistrate in a half and book again he landed behind bars again only briefly the fake papers were not sufficient grounds to imprison him the court was not informed about his many other crimes and the suspicion of terrorism. in the us it was all it's when the future attacker was presented to us that he appeared to be someone without prior
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convictions who hadn't committed any other crimes of someone without a record. that he was presented to us so based on this search. alone we couldn't justify any kind of lengthy imprisonment. in the haft. the minors is in my view that shouldn't have happened especially since it wasn't a surprise grabber it was in the offing for hours on the uniformed police officers in berlin and north rhine-westphalia would have had the time to go down to friedrichs hafen and carry out an interrogation with all the knowledge that they have about. from the. bus and this. is my opinion there would have been a real chance of arresting him and putting him in pretrial detention afternoon another chance than detaining amery pending deportation was also squandered in
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raavan spork the reason was that there were no identity papers for amery from tunisia the country would only issue them if its citizens were unambiguously identified by finger and hand prints. and risk deportation had long been planned in the joint counterterrorism center for a year the prints were there in the computer of the federal criminal police office and german police but the foreigners registration office in north rhine-westphalia commission with armories deportation was not told any of this one anyone who needed these handprints or fingerprints could have searched in the system and would have found them if they had to search for them. but without the handprints and dance without the chance of an imminent deportation armory couldn't be locked up in pretty deep or tension custody so for months before the attack on florida's gave away two big opportunities to put the potential terrorist out of commission and he
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was set free. to go over there were other things there was i think he was stunned at being freed and you get the impression that he was absolutely euphoric. i think he saw himself as some have chosen though that in spite of his previous career he was let out of prison without any difficulties after two days. or glimmer not so that was a key moment for him it meant that even some mom with a record like his didn't necessarily face consequences in germany if you're meeting with friends who wins less than those. for the last time travel to a marriage what he didn't know was that the police had been there before him the state criminal police office in north rhine-westphalia put pressure on administrators to turn a blind eye to am resigned dentity and social welfare fraud. we look we were saved
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the information from state security that if he appeared here we should act normal and give him his money we paid out a check twice a month and on august nineteenth he was here in. the state criminal police office left amery alone why at this point he was no longer useful to the officials as a source his group in helders time associated with the alleged ayers leader abu allah had been busted a few weeks later for suspected men were in pretrial detention but not hammering. clearly alarmed by the raid he went into hiding in berlin. around nine weeks before the attack the joint counterterrorism center was alerted again according to the moroccan secret service armory was ranting about germany as the land of infidels the intelligence officials warn that armory was quote carrying out a project. that
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should have been a red flag everyone should have been extremely alarmed by that message. that would normally have been the point where one would have ramped up the observation again. is that the word project is very unspecific what was that supposed to mean it could be leaving the country it could be anything a termite project could turn out to be something very bad all in ordinary. so the joint counterterrorism center only agrees to make a further inquiry even though berlin state criminal police officer internally admitted that for weeks it no longer had amery under control no manhunt was started later attempts were made to explain that. there was the drug dealing he consumed drugs to. he was pornographic films and lots of other things that did not really
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give the impression of a person who out of deep religious convictions is planning an attack of the truck to foiled in view of the nov twenty fifth dene attacks in paris which were carried out by drug dealing criminals and the july twenty sixth seen lorry attack in nice also by a drunk taker that attempt to justify inaction comes as a surprise this is. a credible contradiction. on the one hand the notion that he is showing islamic behavior. and on the other hand the file that says on the contrary that he's still or even increasingly moving along the violent spectrum. doesn't go together. inspect the good of this post i thought it was on. the place had not just dropped the observation but a short time later also stopped the telephone surveillance precisely the phone
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number that armory probably later used to send his video claiming responsibility the same number under which he chatted with his eye as instructed on the day of the attack again a last chance to apprehend the terrorist. just eight weeks before the attack there was hectic activity in north rhine-westphalia good morning but then i am responsible for the support of mary who is classified as a dangerous person and i have a question about his main place of residence there was no answer from berlin. where was amery bank question was still tormenting investigators in north rhine-westphalia just six days before the attack because on that day amery again head in the eye as mosque in berlin he had already long been preparing for his attack he was filmed in front of the mosque by the state criminal police offices
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hidden surveillance camera but the images were no longer being analyzed. nor was the mosque being wiretapped although that was legally possible. the state knew that the mosque was a kind of center of the movement in berlin it should have interfered if the state knows that they just people are going in and out of a mosque it can't be content with following them up to the door and allowing an extra legal place to exist and that also outside and inside the mosque the state has the duty to prevent crimes observe potential terrorists and ensure that its citizens are protected. december the eighteenth nine pm twenty three hours before the attack in this restaurant matter close associate tunisian bilel been a top dangerous person who was under investigation on suspicion of terrorism images
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from a private surveillance camera show an intense conversation between the two. still six weeks after the attack this science bank than probably most important witness was deported according to the federal prosecutor's office there were no charges against him only after the deportation did investigators analyze the photos on his cell phone. it seems that a half year before the attack friends scouted out the side where it was to happen. an internal analysis by the federal criminal police office says he took photos which in view of the photographer's special perspective give the impression that here the latest site of the attack was being reckon ordered. what the photo showed were eligible weak points lack of barriers the rapid deportation of amritsar associate is incomprehensible to the victim's lawyer. the lesson is done on
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different issues then maybe not so unusual if there was a particular interest in protecting someone. we still don't know if he was an inside informant role for a service and that he might have been moved abroad to protect a school and should stand up as a one as well and also want to look at but in lawson fifty four minutes before the attack i'm really laughter fusillade mask for the last time probably after getting a blessing for the mission near the mosque the hijacked the lorry without being observed and shot the driver. a short time later eleven others were dying including astrid passons father. if you're fired from a put it would i expect from policymakers is for them to finally show responsibility for them to admit that the state failed completely and for your time we are the ones who pay the price for that it's claim twelve victims unnecessarily for that this happens i understand. most of the author orators in agencies and
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ministry has refused our request for interviews for this film in most cases they cited beyond going investigation. a global playing company aims to consolidate. siemens ones to shed personal thousand of them and go that's the night. the company plans to close its to buy an factory in the east german city. that even though the plants a lot of books are full of employees say there dumfounded. made in
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germany thirty minutes on d w. w's program guide to the highlights. the home. dot com highlights. they live to serve much. danger lurks in the water we were there all year long surfing into waste and polluted water not only being the witness but the funds being victims i mean with a few troubles all gastric troubles. basically this a sort of always moment in backup of a nation full of is often a shelf. job human sewage completely untreated and stone walls are coming out of these rights considering that an absence of want to call most most
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crime yet so. he's going to have to go somewhere every day and seems more i'm old rubbish each time the others perceive gives me everything i suppose waves the wind i have to give something back i feel obliged and doing ok we just we seem to really get to the first. point waves surfers fighting against unseen pollution in the city starting january seventh to w. germany's chancellor has unveiled a memorial on the anniversary of a deadly truck attack at a berlin christmas market oncle americal said her government needs to improve defenses against attacks by extremists and better help victims.

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