Reported identification of Berlin terrorist: credible lead or subterfuge?
Various news organizations reported Wednesday afternoon that a person identified as "Anis A", a 24-year-old Tunisian, is being sought by Germany's police over Monday's terrorist attack on Berlin's Christmas market. His ID card was found in the cab of the truck used in the attack although it is possible that he used an alias, a source close to the investigation was quoted as saying. The source claimed that the Tunisian had been known to the German security and intelligence services, had requested asylum but was turned down, had been summoned for questioning by the police, and was supposed to have been monitored.
DEBKAfile's intelligence sources report that it is possible that the news on the identification of the Tunisian is nothing more than a psychological tactic aimed at convincing the real perpetrator to lower his guard so he makes a mistake leading to his capture, or at giving citizens the impression of progress in the investigation at a time when the police and other security and intelligence services have no lead on the identity of the terrorists. The sources add that it is possible that the terrorist or terrorists have already fled the country and are now hiding in Muslim refugee communities in Belgium or France.
Earlier on Wednesday, DEBKAfile reported that the manhunt for the terrorist includes the deployment of counterterror troops, bomb disposal specialists and canine units in the centers of cities as well as around public and government buildings; the setup of many roadblocks; and raids in areas with large concentrations of refugees to obtain intelligence on the location of the terrorist. A police spokesman repeated the police's warning to citizens that one or more armed terrorists are at large.
Monday night's incident in whch a truck ploughed into a Christmas market left 12 people dead and 48 wounded. Among those injured was 60-year-old Rami Elkayam, an Israeli whose wife Dalia was still missing on Wednesday morning more than 40 hours after the attack.