Berlin (AFP) - German anti-terrorism experts believed Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri was unlikely to commit an assault, even though he was a known Islamist who had volunteered for a suicide attack, a report said Thursday.
Minutes before Amri allegedly rammed the hijacked truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, he sent an SMS, saying: "My brother, all is well, according to God's will. I am now in a car, pray for me my brother, pray for me."
The message, as well as a selfie taken in the truck's cab, was likely sent to a 40-year-old Tunisian arrested in Berlin on Wednesday, said the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.
Investigators seeking to discover if Amri had accomplices said the detained Tunisian suspect "could have been involved in the attack".
Counter-terrorism officials have a detailed file on Amri, they knew he was tightly linked to Germany's radical Islamist network and had looked up instructions online on how to build pipe bombs, the newspaper reported.
The latest version of their file on Amri, which included information on his eight different identities, was updated on December 14 -- just five days before he allegedly killed 12 people in the Berlin attack.
Duesseldorf police deemed Amri a Salafist and radical fundamentalist, while Dortmund police had rated him a sympathiser of the Islamic State group.
Amri had been a regular guest at a religious school in a Dortmund apartment run by a notorious radical known as Boban S. that was believed to be a recruitment ground for jihadists.
Nevertheless, on an eight-point scale assessing an individual's potential danger, with "one" the highest threat, counter-terrorism experts rated him a "five" -- meaning they considered an attack possible but unlikely.
Amri's phone was recovered from the site of the truck attack.
Citing Berlin government sources, the newspaper said the lorry's automatic braking system activated on impact, possibly saving lives.
The truck had ploughed into the crowd but swerved to the left after 60 to 80 metres (200 to 260 feet), crashing through a stall before coming to a halt.
Shortly after the rampage, authorities admitted that counter-terrorism services had been watching Amri, suspecting he may have been plotting an attack.
But surveillance was dropped in September, as police thought he was primarily as a small-time drug dealer.
Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered a sweeping review of the security apparatus after the attack, so that any necessary reforms could be agreed and implemented quickly.