Traditional Christmas markets are opening across Germany amid heightened security, almost a year after a terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market killed 12.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere called on Germans Monday not to stay away out of fear, saying “Christmas markets are part of our life and culture.” But he also said that “the terror threat is simply very high. Anytime. Anywhere.”
The Berlin Christmas market, where a Tunisian attacker rammed a truck into visitors on Dec. 19, is to open Monday night with a candlelight ceremony.
Like most Christmas markets in Germany, it has been fortified with concrete blocks to stop possible car attacks and will have an increased presence of police officers. On the anniversary of the attack, the Berlin market will remain closed.
German authorities provided an update on the investigation into the attack on Monday, saying investigators somehow didn’t spot a photo of Anis Amri, the man accused in the attack, holding a firearm when evaluating data on his cellphone, months before he killed a dozen people by ramming a truck into the Berlin market.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s interior minister Herbert Reul said the phone was confiscated during a police spot-check in Berlin in February 2016, and 12,000 media files were sent to investigators in his state, where the suspect was living.
One file was a photo showing Amri with a firearm. Reul called for a review of police procedures to “avoid such mistakes in the future.”
Public inquiries and German media have uncovered a series of mistakes by security agencies in tracking a man who authorities suspected posed a public threat.