The Berlin terror suspect who repeatedly slipped through the fingers of German authorities was reportedly on the U.S. no-fly list months before Monday’s deadly attack.
Anis Amri piqued the interest of U.S. officials after it was discovered he had researched the construction of explosive devices and communicated with ISIS leaders on at least one occasion via the group’s Telegram Messenger, officials told The New York Times.
ATTACK PROMPTS HIGH SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
But while the U.S quickly moved to keep Amri out of the country, Germany couldn’t get him to leave.
There were red flags galore surrounding the Tunisian-born Amri:
Amri, 24, left Tunisia in 2010 after stealing a truck, a crime for which he was sentenced to prison time in absentia, Die Welt reported.
He arrived in Italy but couldn’t stay out of trouble, eventually landing in an Italian prison for setting fire to a school at a refugee camp, according to an interview with Amri’s father broadcast on a Tunisian radio station. News agency Ans reported the fire was part of a revolt against “infidels.”
Amri applied for asylum in Germany in July 2015 and was denied in June 2016; however, he was never deported. Tunisia first claimed it could not find evidence he was a citizen of the country and then delayed in sending him a passport, German officials said.
Germany had hoped to deport Amri after learning he was plotting a “serious act of violent subversion,” an official told The Washington Post.
Amri was reportedly arrested in Germany on at least two other occasions after his asylum rejection, however, he was released each time.
German officials monitored Amri’s connections to extremists, and at one point investigators believed he may have offered himself as a suicide bomber, Der Spiegel reported. But due to Amri’s ambiguous statements, Germany was never able to arrest him.
Authorities began investigating Amri in March but ended the operation in September despite uncovering some troubling connections. He had lived with a suspected Islamic extremist and was allegedly a follower of an Iraqi-born German preacher who was later arrested due to connections to ISIS.
Officials again convened in November to share intelligence that Amri was connected to Islamist militants. A month later, Amri killed 12 people and wounded 48 when he drove a truck into a crowd at a Christmas market.
The failure of German authorities to catch Amri before the ISIS-claimed attack mirrors their current struggle to capture the fugitive after the fact.
Amri wasn’t identified as the prime suspect until Wednesday, despite leaving a wallet with identification papers behind in the truck he used during the rampage. In the first two days after the attack, Germany detained and questioned two other people, but had to release both due to insufficient evidence.
Two Americans were victims of the Monday massacre, and one of the unidentified individuals remained hospitalized on Thursday, the U.S. Embassy told Fox News. An update was scheduled for later in the day.
Fox News’ Greg Palkot contributed to this report.