By Tom Weimer, ’18
Dec. 19 marked yet another addition to 2016’s string of global terrorist attacks, coming in the form of a truck deliberately being driven into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Germany.
The attacks were confirmed to have been carried out by 24-year-old Tunisian immigrant Anis Amri, who has known ties to ISIS and has been under terrorist watch by the German government since publicly announcing plans to aid in a terrorist attack months before.
According to Stephan Mayer of the Christian Democratic Union/ Christian Social Union parliamentary group, Amri had been registered by German authorities as someone who posed a risk.
Despite Amri’s request for asylum, or protection granted to a political refugee, the German government had arranged for his deportation based on him status as a potential threat. However, before the process could be completed, the attack was carried out, with Amri’s deportation papers set to arrive just days after the incident.
The plan began when a Polish truck driver transporting steel beams to Berlin was killed by Amri, and his vehicle hijacked to carry out the attack. At 8:20 p.m., the truck was driven through the Christmas Market at Breitscheidplatz, killing 12 and injuring 56.
On Dec. 21, the market was reopened to the public, and memorials were set up to commemorate those killed by the terrorist attack. Two days later, Amri was killed in a police shootout near Milan, Italy after being asked to produce citizenship documentation.
In lieu of the volley of attacks that have taken place in Europe in the past year, including the March suicide bombings in Brussels and a similar truck incident this past July in Nice, France, Europe is ideologically divided on how to approach the continuous flow of refugees from the Middle East.
While some argue that closing down the borders and discontinuing acceptance of refugees would eliminate the problem of attacks by ISIS or other extremist groups, others believe that this would lead to discrimination and division, and that open arms is the more humanistic approach.