Germany confirms death of Berlin Christmas market attack suspect

Police and emergency workers at the site of a truck plowing at a Christmas market in Berlin Germany

Anis Amri is shown in handout pictures from the German Bundeskriminalamt Federal Crime Office.

On Tuesday, police in Berlin said that they were unsure whether a man who was the main suspect was the one who had driven the truck into the Christmas fair.

Almost 50 people were injured as the truck driver crashed through the laden vehicle through Christmas shoppers at the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church in the heart of West Berlin.

German law enforcement now faces criticism for having Amri on its radar, but failing to ultimately prevent Amri from plowing into a Christmas market in Berlin.

When challenged by the police officers he claimed, in Italian, to be from Calabria in the south, but officers were suspicious and asked him to identify himself. But that investigation was dropped in September.

"There is a new suspect we are searching for - he is a suspect but not necessarily the assailant", the minister told reporters.

German authorities said Tuesday they've released a man initially suspected in the truck crash that killed 12 people at a holiday market in Berlin - an event officials are investigating as an act of terrorism.

"There are around 550 jihadists in Germany who are believed to be potential terrorists", he told the NewsHour on Thursday.

Five days earlier, on Monday, Amri is believed to have hijacked a delivery truck in Berlin, murdered the Polish driver, and smashed the 19-ton vehicle at high speed through a holiday market.

Police said they found documents belonging to Amri inside the truck.

Amri's family condemned the attack earlier this week. "If it is proved that he is involved, we disassociate ourselves from it".

The report was one of several conflicting accounts on the whereabouts of the 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri.

In Duesseldorf, Ralf Jaeger, interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), said the Tunisian appeared to have arrived in Germany in July 2015 and his asylum application had been rejected. "Tunisia at first denied that this person was its citizen, and the papers weren't issued for a long time", Jaeger said.

A video has been released of Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri pledging allegiance to Isis, as Germany warned his death does not reduce the country's terror threat. Tunisia was hit previous year by three major militant attacks, two targeting foreign tourists, by gunmen who spent time in jihadist camps overseas.

"I am certain we will meet this test we are facing", she said.