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Germany: Tunisian seen as lone perpetrator of Berlin attack

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/04/2017
FILE _ In this Dec. 20, 2016 file photo the trailer of a truck stands beside destroyed Christmas market huts in Berlin, Germany. German prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday, April 12, 2017 their investigation suggests that the December attack on a Berlin Christmas market in which 12 people were killed was solely the work of Tunisian suspect Anis Amri. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file) © The Associated Press FILE _ In this Dec. 20, 2016 file photo the trailer of a truck stands beside destroyed Christmas market huts in Berlin, Germany. German prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday, April 12, 2017 their investigation suggests that the December attack on a Berlin Christmas market in which 12 people were killed was solely the work of Tunisian suspect Anis Amri. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)

BERLIN — A Tunisian man whose asylum application had been rejected appears to have been the sole perpetrator of the attack on a Berlin Christmas market even though he was in contact with a member of the Islamic State group outside Germany, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

German prosecutors said they have found no evidence so far that anyone else in the country besides suspect Anis Amri was involved in planning or carrying out the Dec. 19 attack, in which 12 people were killed.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which Amri carried out using a truck commandeered from a Polish driver who was among the victims.

Amri fled Berlin following the attack and was killed in a shootout with police in Italy on Dec. 23 after they stopped him for a routine identity check.

After the attack, IS released a video showing Amri swearing allegiance to the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and vowing to fight non-Muslims.

Prosecutors said Amri filmed the video in Berlin on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1. By Nov. 10, he was communicating with an IS member abroad and still was in contact with him when he carried out the attack, they added. They didn't identify or locate that person.

Amri's internet habits changed in mid-November, according to prosecutors who evaluated a cellphone he used. He stopped calling up pornographic sites, which until then had dominated his browsing, and from early December went almost exclusively to Islamic extremist sites.

Authorities had already said Amri traveled through the Netherlands, Belgium and France on his way to Italy.

He appears to have returned briefly to his Berlin apartment after the attack, but his trail went cold until the early morning of Dec. 21, when a witness reported seeing him on a bus between Emmerich and Kleve near the Dutch border, according to Wednesday's statement. Amri had previously spent time in that region.

It's still unclear how Amri got from Berlin to Emmerich, prosecutors said.

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