The German government used the one-year anniversary of the terror attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin to apologize for its shortcomings.
Relatives of the victims have directed harsh criticism against Chancellor Angela Merkel over her failure to reach out and offer support in the aftermath of the attack. She didn’t meet directly with those immediately affected by the attack until Monday, and the government admits it wasn’t “sufficiently prepared for the consequences of such a terrorist attack for those affected.”
“For this we can only apologize to the victims and surviving relatives,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in newspaper Tagesspiegel. “It remains a never-ending task of politics in a democratic constitutional state to learn from mistakes and to assume our responsibility towards the victims of terror.”
Merkel called it “a day of willing to make better what did not go well” as she visited the scene where Tunisian migrant Anis Amri drove a truck into a crowd of people. The family of Lukasz Urban, the Polish truck driver who was killed after Amri hijacked his truck, is still waiting to hear from Merkel.
“I want to tell Mrs. Merkel that she has my son’s blood on her hands,” Janina Urban, the victim’s mother, told Deutsche Welle.
The government has also been criticized for its failure to prevent the attack, despite keeping Amri under surveillance. A recent report revealed that intelligence services knew Amri downloaded bomb-making material one year before the attack.
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