The manhunt for the most wanted man in Europe has come to an end as Anis Amri, the suspect in the Berlin truck attack on a Christmas Market, has been reportedly involved in a shootout with Italian police and subsequently killed.
In Milan, Italy, in the early hours of the morning police were performing a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area when they approached Amri and asked him for his ID. Amri reportedly pulled out a .22 caliber pistol from his backpack and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) before opening fire at police. The officers returned fire and Amri was killed, but not before he managed to wound one of them.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 23, 2016
It is being confirmed that the suspect who was killed was indeed Anis Amri, the only suspect in the Berlin truck attack.
The fingerprints of the dead man match Amri’s, reports in the Italian media say.
German officials have confirmed Amri’s fingerprints were found inside the truck that was used in Monday evening’s attack.
The attack took place at a Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the west of the German capital.
Investigators are 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.
Amri, a Tunisian national aged 24, had served a prison sentence in Italy after being convicted of vandalism, threats and theft in 2011.
He was known to Italian authorities for his violent behaviour while imprisoned.
After his release he was asked to leave the country. He arrived in Germany where he applied for asylum in April of this year.
He was named as a suspect in the Berlin attack by German federal prosecutors, and a reward of up to €100,000 (£84,000; $104,000) was offered for information leading to his arrest.
You may recall that police in Germany suspected Anis Amri to still be in the country, as they speculated he was gravely wounded in the truck crash, but he managed to make his way to Italy before being caught. Officers found railway tickets on Amri that showed he traveled to southern France and then on to Milan in northern Italy. The European Union currently has a “free travel” policy, which means citizens (or refugees) can travel freely between countries with having to show identification.
After the shooting the BBC reported that the mother of Anis Amri, who is still living in Tunisia, is blaming the authorities for his death (rather than Amri himself for killing 12 people with a hijacked truck).
The German authorities issued an alert for Amri on Wednesday after immigration documents identifying him were found in the cab of the lorry used in the deadly attack.
Amri’s family had urged him to give himself up, and on Friday his mother criticised 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 Amri had been filmed at a mosque in Berlin in the hours after the attack.
Recall that German authorities had attempted to deport the 24-year-old in June after rejecting his asylum application, but a dispute with Tunisia over missing documents proving Amri’s nationality meant he could not be ejected from the country. Ironically enough, the correct papers arrived with German authorities just 2 days ago, but unfortunately 2 days after Amri killed 12 people in a truck attack.
The ease in which Amri was able to travel while being a suspect in a horrific act of terrorism will likely be a topic of discussion in the EU, but it’s unlikely there will be any significant changes to policy in the coming months.
For now, yet another terrorist has been stopped, but only after he was able to take the lives of 12 others while injuring dozens more.