Police in Milan killed the suspect in the Berlin terror attack after stumbling upon him in a routine stop early on Dec. 23.
“The person killed, without a shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri, the suspect of the Berlin terrorist attack,” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said. His body was identified with the help of fingerprints supplied by Germany.
Amri, a Tunisian, had spent time in prison in Italy before. He was stopped by two local officers and pulled a gun from his backpack after being asked for identification. Police killed him in ensuing shootout. One officer was injured.
German authorities said Amri’s fingerprints were in the cab of a truck used to attack a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday. Twelve people died and another 50 suffered injuries when the truck plowed into tables, chairs, and market stalls at the popular holiday shopping spot outside Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin. Islamic State (ISIS) claimed Amri “carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting citizens of the crusader coalition.”
Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Peter Frank, said his office is working with Italian authorities to establish the route Amri took from Berlin to Milan.
“It is now of great significance for us to establish whether the suspect had a network of supporters or helpers in preparing and carrying out the crime and in fleeing; whether there were accessories or helpers,” Frank said.
Prosecutors also want to know whether the gun Amri was carrying in Milan was the same one used to shoot the Polish driver of the truck he hijacked for the attack, Frank added. The driver was found dead in the vehicle’s cab.
Amri spent time in Italy after leaving Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. He served 3 1/2 years in prison for setting a fire at a refugee center and making threats. He was repeatedly transferred among Sicilian prisons for bad conduct, with prison records saying he bullied inmates and tried to spark insurrections.
Authorities in Germany deemed him a potential threat and even kept him under covert surveillance for six months this year. They rejected his asylum application and had been trying to deport him, but he lacked valid identity papers and Tunisia initially denied he was a citizen. Authorities say Amri has used at least six different names and three nationalities in his travels around Europe.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Lynde Langdon writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)