Anis Amri, the main suspect in Berlin Christmas market attack, has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.
The Tunisian opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area on December 23.
According to German authorities, fingerprints they provided have confirmed the dead man is Anis Amri. They are trying to find out if he had accomplices.
The December 19 attack at Berlin’s Breoscheidplatz Christmas market left 12 dead and 49 injured.
When Italian police stopped the suspect, who was on foot, at 03:00AM local time, he “immediately drew out a gun” and shot at the two policemen, Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said.
Officer Cristian Movio was injured in the shoulder but his injuries are not life-threatening.
His junior colleague, Luca Scata, who had been in the police for just nine months, was the one who fired the shot which killed Anis Amri.
German officials found Anis Amri’s fingerprints inside the truck that was used in December 19 attack.
Federal prosecutor Peter Frank said the focus of the criminal investigation into the killings now was to establish whether Anis Amri had had a network of supporters who helped him to plan and carry out the attack or to flee.
Investigators are also trying to establish whether the gun used in the shooting in Milan is the same weapon used to kill the Polish driver of the truck, who was found dead with stab and gun wounds in the cab.
The attack took place at the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the west of the German capital, Berlin.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, Anis Amri had traveled by train from France to Turin, and then taken another train to Milan.
From the central station Anis Amri traveled on to Sesto San Giovanni, a working-class area.
Anis Amri, 24, had served a prison sentence in Italy after being convicted of vandalism, threats and theft in 2011.
The Tunisian was known to Italian authorities for his violent behavior while imprisoned.
After his release Anis Amri was asked to leave the country. He later arrived in Germany where he applied for asylum in April 2016.
His application was rejected by the German authorities but they were unable to deport him to Tunisia because he had no valid identification papers.
Anis Amri was named as a suspect in the Berlin attack by German federal prosecutors, and a reward of up to €100,000 ($104,000) was offered for information leading to his arrest.
The German authorities issued an alert for Anis Amri on December 21 after immigration documents identifying him were found in the cab of the lorry used in the deadly attack.
Anis Amri’s family had urged him to give himself up, and on December 23 his mother criticized Italian and German security officials for not sending him back to Tunisia, where the rest of the family still live, in an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
A spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry would not comment on reports in the German media that Anis Amri had been filmed at a mosque in Berlin in the hours after the attack.
Separately, police arrested two people in the German city of Oberhausen on suspicion of planning an attack on a shopping centre.
Italian Interior Minsiter Marco Minitti praised the two police officers who had apprehended Anis Amri, and said the operation showed how Italy’s security system was working well.
Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz Christmas market has reopened following the truck attack that killed 12 people and injured 49 more on December 19.
The attacker is a suspected Islamist extremist who drove the truck into a crowd.
German police have installed concrete barriers to prevent a repeat attack.
Meanwhile police have raided homes in Dortmund, but prosecutors denied reports that arrests linked to Tunisian suspect Anis Amri were made.
Anis Amri’s ID was left in the truck and now his fingerprints have been found on the door, reports say.
The truck attack victims included at least six Germans and an Israeli tourist.
Image source Twitter
German newspaper Bild quoted the federal prosecutor’s office as saying four people who were in contact with Anis Amri had been arrested.
However, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office denied the report, saying he was not aware of any arrests.
There were also raids at a migrant centre in Emmerich in western Germany, where Anis Amri stayed briefly last year, and at addresses in Berlin.
Anis Amri’s name came to the attention of German counter-terror services last month and he reportedly moved in the circle of extremist preacher Ahmad Abdelazziz A, known as Abu Walaa, who was arrested last month and charged with supporting ISIS.
The Ruhrnachrichten news website said Anis Amri had lived in Dortmund from time to time and residents at one block of flats said he had spent time with a German of Serbian origin, Boban S., who was arrested last month along with Abu Walaa.
Anis Amri was on a US no-fly list, had researched explosives online and had communicated with ISIS at least once via the Telegram Messenger service, the New York Times reported.
ISIS has said one of its militants carried out the attack but has offered no evidence.
Anis Amri had also offered himself for a suicide attack, Spiegel magazine reported, quoting communications intercepted for the prosecution of hate preachers in Germany.
However, what he said was not believed to be explicit enough for him to be arrested, the magazine said.
Anis Amri had also been put under surveillance in Germany earlier in the year on suspicion of planning a robbery to pay for automatic weapons for use in an attack.
However, the surveillance was reportedly called off after it turned up nothing more than drug-dealing in a Berlin park and a bar brawl.
Anis Amri, 24, is said to have entered Germany in 2015 and was due to be deported in June but stayed because there was a delay in receiving paperwork from Tunisia.
He had a history of crime, serving 4 years in an Italian prison for arson and convicted in absentia in Tunisia for a violent robbery.
A police notice lists six different aliases used by Amri, born on 22 December 1992, who at times tried to pass himself off as an Egyptian or Lebanese.
The German authorities warn the suspect could be armed and dangerous and are offering a reward of up to €100,000 ($104,000) for information leading to his arrest.
It is thought Anis Amri may have been injured in a struggle with the Polish driver of the truck, found murdered in the cab.
Investigators believe the truck was hijacked on December 19 when it was parked in an industrial zone in north-western Berlin pending delivery of its cargo.