The Tunisian refugee suspected of driving a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin was killed in a pre-dawn shootout Friday with police in the northern Italian city of Milan — ending a Europe-wide manhunt, Italy’s interior minister said.
From The New York Post
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, in which the truck plowed through a crowd of people and bulldozed wooden huts selling Christmas gifts and snacks near a famous church in west Berlin.
New details also emerged Friday about Amri’s movements before and after the attack.
German police caught Amri on surveillance camera during a regular stake-out at a mosque in Berlin’s Moabit district on the Wednesday and Thursday before the attack, Germany’s RBB public broadcaster reported.
The broadcaster also said there was other footage placing Amri at the mosque a few hours after the attack.
Amri left Tunisia in 2011 the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings and reached the Italian island of Lampedusa by boat. He told authorities he was a minor, though documents now show he was not, and he was transferred to Catania, Sicily, where he was enrolled in school.
A few months later, he was arrested for setting the school ablaze, a senior police source said. He was convicted of vandalism, threats and theft. He was repeatedly transferred among Sicilian prisons for bad conduct, with prison records saying he bullied inmates and tried to spark insurrections.
He served 3 ½ years for setting a fire at a refugee center and making threats, among other things — but Italian authorities apparently detected no signs that he was becoming radicalized.
“The man killed was without a shadow of doubt Anis Amri,” Marco Minniti said, referring to Anis Amri, who authorities said killed 12 people and wounded 56 others before fleeing Monday.
Two cops stopped Amri at about 3 a.m. local time in front of the Sesto San Giovanni train station, north of Milan, Minniti said. They were suspicious because the station was closed, a Milan anti-terror official said.
When asked for an ID, he pulled out a gun and shot one of the officers, wounding him in the shoulder, before being gunned down. The cop’s wounds were not life-threatening.
“These two extraordinary, extremely young men, simply by doing their duty, have done an extraordinary service to our community,” Minniti said. One of the cops was still a probationary officer.
A railroad ticket found on Amri’s body indicated he had traveled by high-speed train from France to the northern Italian city of Turin, a judicial source told Reuters. He then caught a regional train to the Milan suburbs.
Officials are still trying to determine how he arrived at a piazza outside the station. Some buses run at that hour, but no trains, trams or metros.
Authorities had been tipped that Amri – who had spent time in an Italian prison — might be in the Milan area, the source said. He has used at least six different names and three nationalities in his travels around Europe.
Minniti gave very few details of the police operation, saying investigations were still in progress. He indicated that there could be “future developments.”
The dramatic shootout ended an international manhunt for Amri, who is believed to have stolen the truck from a Polish driver who was found fatally stabbed and shot inside the vehicle.
Italy tried to deport Amri back to Tunisia, but authorities there refused to take him back because they could not be sure he was Tunisian. He was then merely ordered to leave Italy, officials said.
In 2015, he arrived in Germany, where authorities denied his application for asylum in June 2016. But they could not deport him either because he lacked valide ID papers showing his nationality, officials said. Tunisia finally issued him a new passport, but it only arrived Wednesday – two days after the attack.
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