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Germany 'not sufficiently prepared' for terror attack last year

By Sara Shayanian
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Germany 'not sufficiently prepared' for terror attack last year
German Chancellor Angela Merkel passes white roses during the commemorative events Tuesday marking the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. Photo by Clemens Bilan/EPA

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- German officials said Tuesday they were not sufficiently prepared for the attack on Berlin's Christmas market a year ago that killed 11 people.

Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the attack, admitted there were errors by the federal government.

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"We were not sufficiently prepared for the consequences of such a terrorist attack on those affected," Maas said. "We can only apologize to the victims and survivors.

"It remains a never-ending task for politics in a democratic constitutional state to learn from mistakes and to accept our responsibility towards victims of terror."

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At a private ceremony for the emergency workers Tuesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said there had been some failings to provide support to the relatives of the victims.

"It is true that some support came late and remained unsatisfactory," Steinmeier said. "Many family members and injured, many of you felt abandoned by the state."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke after the ceremony and vowed that Germany would learn from the mistakes and "do everything humanly hospital to not just improve security, but to help those whose lives have been affected or destroyed."

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On Dec. 19, 2016, Tunisian citizen Anis Amri, whose application for asylum in Germany had been rejected, hijacked a semi truck and killed Polish driver Lukasz Robert Urban before driving into a Christmas market at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz.

Amri, 24, injured 56 people before he was shot dead by Italian police days later.

To mark the anniversary, the Breitscheidplatz market will remain closed all day Tuesday and a 17-meter-long line of bronze on the ground was unveiled to symbolize the wound the attack left in the lives of the victims' loved ones.

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