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Berlin to open anti-terrorism centre near old airport in 2020

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Berlin to open anti-terrorism centre near old airport in 2020
The entrance to the planned centre. Credit: DPA
16:59 CET+01:00
Starting in 2020, some 1,200 special officers will work out of Berlin's new anti-terror centre, which will have a floor devoted to stopping Islamic terrorism.

The fight against terrorism will soon have a new base in Berlin: a sprawling Weimar-era post office.

The Special Operations Command, the Mobile Task Force and the Department for Combating Islamic Terrorism are all to move to Berlin's former Reichspostzentralamt in Tempelhof, reported the Berliner Morgenpost on Thursday,

Starting in 2020, around 1,200 special officers will work out of the Bauhaus building constructed in the 1920s, the newspaper reported from an internal paper about the plan it acquired along with broadcaster RBB. A whole floor in the building will be devoted to combating Islamic terrorism.

Over a year after a deadly Christmas market attack on Breitscheidplatz carried out by Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri, the aim of the centre is to improve communication and cooperation in combating terrorism, according to Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD).

In the case of Amri, state and local police forces did not cooperate effectively, missing several pieces of evidence that could have stopped the attack which left 12 people dead and 49 injured, according to an investigation led by special state investigator Bruno Jost.

At the end of last year, Berlin's coalition government of the SPD, Greens and Left Party agreed to the construction of the centre, with €25 million earmarked for its conversion. An additional 100 million euros are earmarked for the 15 year-rental period of the building and the operating costs.

Security authorities have praised the location, according to the Morganpost, as it situation just off the highway, and can easily be reached. The building currently houses offices from Deutsche Telekom and the administration for the Museum of Communications.

Police and security forces have also faced a shortage of space - especially with many new hires to come on board soon.

"We urgently need new capacity because our colleagues squeezed in [to current space]," Benjamin Jendro, spokesman for the Union of Police, told the Morgenpost.

However, he said, a solution to the shortage of space and new spaces must also be found before the planned move in 2020, as current conditions are unacceptable. "This is against the guidelines of occupational safety and health," said Jendro.

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