Questions remain unsolved on European safety after Berlin attack

MNA Editorial Desk: Last Monday, 24-year-old, Tunisian national Anis Amri plowed a truck into a Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 56 in Germany’s deadliest attack in over three decades. Amri was killed during a shootout with police in the suburbs of Milan.
But it left authorities facing threatening questions about how an armed suspected terrorist had been able to travel hundreds of miles on public transport before being caught.
No attack has claimed so many lives in Germany since 1980, when a bomb killed 13 people and injured hundreds at Munich’s Oktoberfest.
No police cameras were monitoring the market at Breitscheidplatz in western Berlin at the time of the attack, leaving security experts to wonder why some important security precautions were lacking at Berlin markets, including an increased presence of uniformed police.
Earlier in this month on July month, at least 84 people were killed when a truck careened through crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.
French President Francois Hollande has said the attack, which also left dozens of people injured, was likely an act of terrorism. He said later that there were 50 injured people “between life and death.” The driver was named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31-year-old, a resident of Nice, by French authorities. Later, ISIS claimed the attack.
However, the fact that a man whose terrorist leanings were known to German spy agencies had dropped off their radar before the attack and managed to evade police while travelling at least 1,000 miles around the continent in spite of a European arrest warrant raised difficult questions for security agencies and politicians across Europe.
Europe has no equivalent of the FBI, so the security forces of each nation are responsible for fighting terror groups. Today, political leaders are trying to beef up institutions such as Europol, which attempts to coordinate law enforcement and information-sharing among the 28 member states.
The continent had experienced terrorism in the past (including the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris earlier that year), and attacks of a similar scale are depressingly common around the world (twin bombings in Lebanon killed up to 43 people the day before the Paris attacks). However, the recent attacks have brought home the reality of the fight against ISIS for many people.
The point of terrorism is often to provoke an overreaction, as states blindly hit back or take rapid, ill-conceived action in order to appear decisive. In the EU’s case, there is little danger of a classic counterproductive overreaction of the ‘Global War on Terror’ type, since the EU is not set up for swift and decisive action. The problem is rather that, at a time when solidarity and co-operation are the main building blocks of a response, the EU is more divided than ever.

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