BERLIN (CBSNewYork/AP) — An international manhunt is underway across Europe for the man officials believe is responsible for a deadly truck attack killed 12 people and injured 48 at a Berlin Christmas market this week.
The search prompted police in Denmark to check a Sweden-bound ferry in the port of Grenaa after receiving tips that someone resembling suspect Anis Amri had been seen there. But police said Thursday they found nothing indicating his presence.
Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere confirmed that fingerprints of the Tunisian man have been found in the cab of the truck that was used in the attack. The discovery strengthens Germany’s case linking Amri to the incident, de Maiziere said.
Daily newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and broadcasters NDR and WDR reported Thursday that Amri’s fingerprints were found on the driver’s door of the Polish-registered truck. The daily Berliner Zeitung reported that his fingerprints were found on the steering wheel.
German authorities issued a wanted notice for Amri on Wednesday and offered a reward of up to 100,000 euros ($105,000) for information leading to his arrest. A document belonging to Amri was found in the cab of the truck.
German authorities say Amri has criminal convictions in both Tunisia and Italy. He also successfully evaded deportation from Germany, even after his application for asylum was rejected. He’d been under police surveillance as a possible terror threat before the attack.
Amri’s family members, speaking from his hometown of Oueslatia in central Tunisia, were shaken to learn he’s the prime suspect in Monday’s truck attack.
Amri, who turned 24 on Thursday, left Tunisia years ago for Europe but had been in regular contact with his brothers via Facebook and phone.
Speaking in the town of Oueslatia in central Tunisia, mother Nour El Houda Hassani says poverty drove her son Anis Amri to steal and to travel illegally to Europe.
His mother told The Associated Press on Thursday: “I want the truth to be revealed about my son. If he is the perpetrator of the attack, let him assume his responsibilities and I’ll renounce him before God. If he didn’t do anything, I want my son’s rights to be restored.”
She says Tunisian police took away her telephone Wednesday and are studying her communications with her son.
She said: “When he talked he was normal. There was no sign of radicalization.”
Brother Abdelkader Amri told The Associated Press, “I ask him to turn himself into the police. If it is proved that he is involved, we dissociate ourselves from it.”
Abdelkader said Anis may have been radicalized in prison in Italy, where he went after leaving Tunisia in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Meanwhile, the market reopened to the public Thursday, three days after the deadly incident. Concrete blocks have been put in place at the roadside to heighten security.
Organizers decided to reopen the market next to the central Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, though without party music or bright lighting.
Berliners and visitors have laid candles and flowers at the site in tribute.
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