The African country the suspected Berlin market attacker was from has become a breeding ground for ISIS

The prime suspect in the German Christmas market attack was from a north African country that has become a breeding ground for extremism and is one of the top exporters of jihadists.

Tunisia was once thought to be an Arab Spring success story — it was called the "sole democratic success" of the uprisings that swept the Middle East starting in 2010.

Related: Tunisia faces challenges from Islamic State

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Tunisia faces challenges from Islamic State
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Tunisia faces challenges from Islamic State
A minaret, that was damaged during fighting between Islamic State jihadists and government forces, is seen in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Household items lie on the ground at a house that was squatted by Islamic State jihadists and damaged during fighting with government forces in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People stand where their neighbour Abdel Atti Abdelkabir, a policeman, was killed by Islamic State jihadists in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A Tunisian security forces tank is seen through a car window at Dhiba by the Tunisian and Libyan border crossing, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A house which was damaged during fighting with government forces stands in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A road sign shows the direction of Libya near the border crossing at Dhiba, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The father and son of Abdel Atti Abdelkabir, a policeman who was killed by Islamic State jihadists, pose for a picture in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A municipal worker adds the finishing touches in Martyr's Square to a memorial to those recently killed by Islamic State's fighters in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 12, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Hamid Ishi stands in his house, which was squatted by Islamic State jihadists and damaged during fighting with government forces, in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia April 10, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People are seen at a Radio Web studio during training at a youth centre in Ben Guerdane, Tunisia April 12, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A man who's brother,Tarak Slimi, is suspected to have joined Islamic State in Libya, shows how the family managed to board up a door after it was damaged during a police raid in El Kef, Tunisia April 14, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Fethiya Charni holds a photograph and the passport of her son Tarak Slimi, who is suspected to have joined Islamic State in Libya, at her house in El Kef, Tunisia April 14, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fethiya Charni, weeps as she holds a photograph and the passport of her son Tarak Slimi, who is suspected to have joined Islamic State in Libya, at her house in El Kef, Tunisia April 14, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mohamed Slimi, whose son Tarak Slimi is suspected to have joined Islamic State in Libya, sits at his house in El Kef, Tunisia April 14, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Photographs of Rahma (L), the wife of Noureddine Chouchane, a jihadist who was killed during a U.S strike in Libya, and her sister Gofran (R), are seen in a newspaper in Tunis, Tunisia April 14, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Yarusi Kadi, 21 (C), an unemployed graduate, smiles as he poses for a photograph with his grandmother at his house in the town of Remada, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman walks past a truck loaded with containers in the town of Remada, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A woman sits outside her house, which was damaged in fighting between Islamic State jihadists and government forces, in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 12, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Yahya, father of Bechar Zongya, gestures during an interview with Reuters journalists in the town of Remada, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A sign is seen at the edge of Remada, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
People inspect a burnt room inside their house, which was damaged by fighting between Islamic State jihadists and government forces in Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, Tunisia April 12, 2016. After a U.S. air strike killed a Tunisian jihadist commander in western Libya in late February, dozens of Islamic State fighters sneaked across the border into Tunisia and attacked an army barracks and police bases in the town of Ben Guerdane. In the battle that followed, Islamic State militants shot dead local Tunisian anti-terrorism chief Colonel Abdel Atti Abdelkabir metres from his home. Residents including the colonel's brother say they recognised some of the attackers as former neighbours and classmates who had left to train with Islamic State in Libya. In all, more than 50 militants died in the assault. The battle was further evidence of how Libyaâs chaos has spilled over into its more stable neighbour. Tunisia, one of the most secular countries in the Arab world, is trying to nurture the nascent democracy that grew out of its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But it also faces an intensifying battle against Islamist militants â not least Tunisian fighters now based just across the border. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Men play soccer at a pitch in the town of Remada, Tunisia April 11, 2016. Tunisia's 2011 uprising created fertile ground for jihadist recruiters. Hundreds of Islamist militants were freed from prison as part of an amnesty for those detained under Ben Ali. Ultra-conservative salafists began to flex their muscle, seizing control of mosques and clashing with secularists. As Tunisia's politics have stabilised, the government has reasserted control, taking back mosques, banning the local al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Sharia, and forcing many militants to flee. At first the jihadists mostly headed to Syria. But now Libya is more popular with them - many Tunisians have become key figures in Islamic State there. In all, officials estimate that between 4,000-6,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other groups, among them university graduates and professionals recruited online. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra SEARCH "ZOHRA REMADA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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But the country has been struggling with an extremism problem that was exacerbated with the arrival of the terrorist group ISIS, which has attracted thousands of Tunisian recruits. A 2015 study by The Soufan Group, a strategic security firm, found that Tunisia supplied more foreign fighters to ISIS than any other country, between 6,000 and 7,000 as of October of that year.

One Tunisian ISIS supporter drove a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin earlier this week, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more, according to authorities. Tunisia native Anis Amri, who was killed in a Friday shootout with police, was German authorities' prime suspect in the attack. Officials had been investigating Amri, but after surveilling him for months, they couldn't find any evidence of a specific plot.

ISIS claimed credit for the attack.

Amri left Tunisia for Italy after the 2011 revolution. He arrived in Germany in July 2015, but his application for asylum was rejected this June.

Related: Berlin Christmas market attack

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Crash at Berlin Christmas market
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Crash at Berlin Christmas market
Fire fighters stand beside a fire engine near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
Police and emergency workers are at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 19: Police take security measures after a truck plough into a crowd at a Christmas market site in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016. Several injuries reported. (Photo by Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 19: Police take security measures after a truck plough into a crowd at a Christmas market site in Berlin, Germany on December 19, 2016. Several injuries reported. (Photo by Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A truck is seen near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police stand near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
Police work near the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Police stand outside a tent near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
Police stand near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
A truck is surrounded by rescue vans at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Police blocks a road leading to a scene next to the Gedächniskirche church where a truck crashed into a christmas market in Berlin, on December 19, 2016 killing at least nine people and injuring at least 50 people. / AFP / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Police blocks a road leading to a scene where a truck speeded into a christmas market in Berlin, on December 19, 2016 killing at least one person and injuring at least 50 people. / AFP / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter walks in front of a truck at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A policeman stands near the scene where a truck speeded into a christmas market in Berlin, on December 19, 2016 killing nine persons and injuring at least 50 people. / AFP / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Police secures the area at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A truck is seen near the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Paramedics work at the site of an accident at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
BREAKING: Truck crashes into crowds at Christmas Market in Berlin, reports of multiple victims
Lorry just ploughed through Christmas market in #berlin. There is no road nearby. People crushed. I am safe. I am s… https://t.co/CrBPLdHc0W
Truck drives into a crowded Christmas Market in #Germany's #Berlin. Many people injured. Many unconscious on the ground. Reports of a shot.
Breaking news - reports from Berlin say truck rams through a crowded Christmas market - unconfirmed casualties
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He had a criminal history — he spent time in an Italian prison for setting fire to a school and was known to be a small-time drug dealer — and reportedly tried to buy a gun from a German informant earlier this year. He was also thought to have had contact with a suspected ISIS recruiter who was arrested in November.

Amri's story was similar to that of other Tunisians who have joined jihadist groups.

George Packer, a staff writer for the New Yorker, visited Tunisia earlier this year to investigate the spread of extremism there.

He explained: "Before the revolution, Tunisia had been kept rigidly secular. Now the black flag of radical Islam flew over many buildings, and hard-liners known as Salafis — the word refers to the original followers of the Prophet Muhammad — took advantage of the new openness and tried to impose Sharia in their neighborhoods."

When Tunisia cracked down on these Salafis, they simply went underground, according to Packer.

And with a nearby ISIS outpost in neighboring Libya, young people with few options for a prosperous future in Tunisia feel that traveling to join the terrorist group could lead to a better life for them.

An unemployed telecommunications engineer, Nabil Selliti, said he joined ISIS because it offered him opportunities in his career field, according to the New Yorker.

"I can't build anything in this country," he said. "But the Islamic State gives us the chance to create, to build bombs, to use technology."

Touhami, a young graduate, arrives on his motorcycle at his job on a dates farm in Jemna, southern Tunisia October 17, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi Thomson Reuters

Some young people in Tunisia feel that the revolution did not significantly improve their lives. One young person lamented to Packer that "the rich in Tunisia get richer, and the poor get poorer."

And terrorist attacks inside the country have hurt Tunisia's tourism industry, which previously provided thousands of jobs and accounted for 8% of the country's GDP, according to Reuters.

Henry Wismayer visited Tunisia earlier this year for Vice to look into how a major terror attack on a beach and hotel had affected the country.

He explained: " The abrupt decline of Tunisia's tourist industry, many say, feels like a betrayal of the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring in 2011. ... Tunisia's new-found pluralism has turned it into a target for extremists, hell-bent on creating an Islamic world under the boot heel of Sharia law."

Still, not every Tunisian ISIS supporter is compelled to join a terrorist group because of poverty or lack of opportunity. ISIS' core ideology seems to hold appeal for some, even those who have means.

A 27-year-old architecture student, Ahmed Amine Jebri, told Yaroslav Trofimov of The Wall Street Journal earlier this year that "so many people have left from here, and quite a few of them were rather well-off."

"Some in the neighborhood believe these guys are fools who had gone to Syria to get killed," he said. "But many others say they are now in paradise with the virgins."

Moncef Marzouki, a human-rights activist who was democratic Tunisia's first president from 2011 to 2014, told the Journal that popular disappointment is spreading in Tunisia.

"It's not the matter of tackling socioeconomic roots," he said. "You have to go deeper and understand that these guys have a dream — and we don't. We had a dream — our dream was called the Arab Spring. And our dream is now turning into a nightmare. But the young people need a dream, and the only dream available to them now is the caliphate."

Jake Kanter contributed to this report.

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