Berlin Truck Attack Suspect Amri Shot Dead in Milan
Suspect in Berlin Christmas market truck attack killed in shootout in a Milan suburb, Italian minister says.
Anis Amri, the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market lorry attack, has been killed in a shootout in a suburb of the northern Italian city of Milan, the Italian authorities said.
Interior minister Marco Minniti told a news conference in Rome that Amri had been fatally shot after firing at police who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3am (02:00 GMT).
Identity checks had established “without a shadow of doubt” that the dead man was Amri, the minister said.
The shootout took place in Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni neighbourhood.
Minniti added that the suspect, a 24-year-old Tunisian, pulled out a gun from his backpack after being asked to show his identity papers. A police officer was injured in the shootout.
The minister gave very few details of the police operation, saying investigations were still in progress.
He added that there could be “future developments”.
ISIL has claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, in which the lorry mowed through a crowd of people and bulldozed wooden huts selling Christmas gifts and snacks beside a famous church in west Berlin.
One of the 12 dead was the Polish driver from whom the lorry had been hijacked. His body, stabbed and shot, was found in the cab.
Germany had launched a Europe-wide manhunt for Amri, who was described as “violent and armed”.
But it emerged that he was already under investigation.
The interior minister of Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state, Ralf Jaeger, said counterterrorism officials had exchanged information about Amri, most recently in November, and a probe had been launched suspecting he was preparing “a serious act of violence against the state”.
Berlin prosecutors said Amri had been suspected of planning a burglary to raise cash to buy automatic weapons, “possibly to carry out an attack”.
Germany said it was “relieved” by the news of Amri’s shooting and thanked Rome.
“There are growing signs that this is actually the person [wanted in the attack]. Should this be proved true, the ministry is relieved that this person no longer poses a danger,” interior ministry spokesman Tobias Plate told reporters.
Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Berlin was “grateful to the Italian authorities for the very close cooperation based on trust”.
Reprinted with permission from Al Jazeera