German security forces to review hundreds of migrants deemed a security risk

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière says authorities will determined whether they need to be deported

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Thursday 19 January 2017 00:49
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Germany received more than 476,000 asylum applications in 2015
Germany received more than 476,000 asylum applications in 2015

Hundreds of asylum seekers deemed a security risk will have their cases reviewed by German authorities in the wake of December's terror attack on a Berlin Christmas market which left 12 people dead.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the country’s Joint Terrorism Task Force would examine the cases of 547 people to determine if they needed to be deported or taken into custody.

It came as Social Democrats politician Burkhard Lischka revealed authorities had lost track of three people identified as being high risk.

This prompted some to draw parallels with Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri, the suspected Berlin attacker, who managed to evade authorities and flee to Italy where he was eventually gunned down in a shootout with police in Milan.

"They are playing with fire, and every wrong calculation can be deadly," Mr Lischka said.

Amri had been identified as a threat last February, but investigators decided it was unlikely he would carry out an attack, according to German media reports.

The 24-year-old is accused of ploughing a lorry through a Christmas market in the Breitscheidplatz area of Berlin, with Islamic State claiming responsibility for the attack.

Mr de Maizière, with justice minister Heiko Maas, announced earlier in the month Germany would tighten security in the country following the attack.

Proposed plans include to make some suspected extremists wear electronic tags, impose tougher residence rules on those who give false identity information and extend the period for which failed asylum seekers can be detained.

Christian Democrat Mr de Maiziere urged lawmakers to approve the new measures quickly, which will make it easier to take people into custody for deportation.

He said it was imperative to set up uniform guidelines for federal state authorities and the national government for handling those deemed potentially dangerous, and said it was unacceptable that Islamist militants were moving around Germany freely.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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