Berlin market suspect killed in Milan

Italian police and forensics experts gather around the body of suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri after he was shot dead in Milan on December 23, 2016. The Tunisian man suspected of carrying out the deadly Berlin truck attack at the Christmas market was shot dead by police in Milan on December 23, Italy's interior minister Marco Minniti said. The minister told a press conference in Rome that Anis Amri had been fatally shot after firing at two police officers who had stopped his car for a routine identity check around 3:00 am (0200 GMT). Identity checks had established "without a shadow of doubt" that the dead man was Amri, the minister said. / AFP / DANIELE BENNATI (Photo credit should read DANIELE BENNATI/AFP/Getty Images)

MILAN — Italian news agency ANSA says a man killed in a shootout with police in Milan is the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack.

5:15 p.m.

A video released by the Islamic State group shows the Tunisian suspect in the Berlin truck attack pledging allegiance to its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and vowing to fight against what he calls “the Crusader pigs.”

The video, which appeared to have been taken by Anis Amri himself, shows him standing on a footbridge in the north of Berlin, not far from where he allegedly hijacked the truck used in the attack that killed 12 people and injured dozens more at a Christmas market on Monday.

The site is just a few hundred meters (yards) from a Berlin state administration office that deals with asylum matters.

It is unclear whether Amri’s case was handled there or whether the video, released online Friday, was taken before or after the attack.
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4:30 p.m.

Tunisia’s president has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he firmly condemns the “cowardly terrorist act” in Berlin, where a Tunisian man in a truck mowed down 12 people at a Christmas market.

President Beji Caid Essebsi, in a statement Friday, called for tighter cooperation to fight “the plague of terrorism that threatens the security and stability of all countries.”

The man that authorities believe carried out the Berlin attack, 24-year-old Anis Amri, was killed Friday by police in Milan.

Amri was supposed to have been deported from Germany, but authorities say they could not get the right papers from Tunisia.

Tunisian authorities say the reason it took so long to issue Amri’s papers is that they needed to carry out so many identity checks. Amri reportedly used at least six different names and three different nationalities in his travels around Europe.

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4:15 p.m.

French authorities are refusing to comment on how the Berlin attack suspect apparently crossed into France and left again in the face of an international manhunt.

Milan police chief Antonio de Iesu said earlier that Anis Amri had “surely passed through France” — a country that has been living in a state of emergency for more than a year after deadly Islamic extremist attacks.

France upped security on the road borders with Germany border after Monday’s Christmas market attack in Berlin, and introduced extra security forces on trains last year after American passengers thwarted an attack on an Amsterdam-Paris route.

The Interior Ministry, prime minister’s office and president’s office would not comment on the Milan police announcement that Amri was found in Italy with a train ticket from Chambery, France the day before.

French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux visited a Paris train station Friday morning to inspect security measures ahead of Christmas holidays. He said more than 91,000 police and military forces are deployed across the country.

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4:05 p.m.

A German security official says the Berlin truck attack suspect has been linked to an extremist recruitment network allegedly run by a preacher arrested last month.

Holger Muench, the head of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said Friday that Anis Amri’s name “has come up in the past” in connection with the network centering on a 32-year-old German-based Iraqi Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A., aka Abu Walaa. He wouldn’t elaborate.

Abu Walaa was arrested Nov. 8 with four other men, accused of being the ringleader of a group whose aim was to steer people to the Islamic State group in Syria.

Prosecutors say the network smuggled at least one young man and his family to Syria.

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3:30 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she has told Tunisia’s president that the repatriation of Tunisians who aren’t entitled to residency in Germany needs to be stepped up.

Merkel spoke with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi hours after the death in Italy of Anis Amri, the chief suspect in the Berlin truck bombing — a Tunisian who had had his application for asylum in Germany rejected.

Germany had tried to deport him, but couldn’t because he lacked valid identity papers and Tunisia initially denied he was a citizen.

Though she conceded that progress has been made this year, Merkel told Tunisia’s president that “we must significantly speed up the repatriation process and further increase the number of people repatriated.”

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3:20 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her relief that the suspect in the Berlin truck attack posed no further threat after he was shot dead by Italian police in Milan during the night.

Merkel told reporters in Berlin that she had ordered a comprehensive investigation into all angles of the case, after it emerged that German authorities had tracked Anis Amri for months this year on suspicion of planning an attack.

Merkel said “our democracy, our rule of law, our values and our humanity” were the alternatives to “the hate-fill world of terrorism” and would ultimately prevail.

Merkel also expressed her deep thanks to Italian authorities, and in particular to the two police officers who challenged Amri.

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2:30 p.m.

Germany’s top security official says the death of Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri doesn’t reduce the extremist threat to Germany.

Amri was shot when he opened fire on police in Milan who stopped him for a routine ID check Friday.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Monday attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people and injured 56 others. Officials are investigating whether Amri had help planning it.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday that the threat “remains high” in Germany and security won’t be scaled down.

De Maiziere said he is “very relieved that this attacker poses no risk anymore.”

And since that is the case, he said that “now the time has come to talk about consequences” of the attack.

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2:20 p.m.

Milan police say the officer who was injured in a shootout with the Berlin Christmas market attack suspect managed to fire a round against his attacker but that his partner fired the fatal shot that killed suspect Anis Amri.

Christian Movio, 35, was operated on at a Milan hospital for an injury to his right shoulder. The surgeon says it was a superficial wound and that he was in good condition.

Movio’s 29-year-old partner, Luca Scata, has only one year of experience on the force. His fatal shot to the chest killed Amri.

Milan police chief Antonio de Iesu said the officers became suspicious after noticing Amri alone, outside a closed suburban Milan train station at 3 a.m. When asked, he said he had no ID papers. He also had no phone and just a small pocket knife.

But de Iesu says he has a fully loaded 22-calibur pistol that he used against the officers.

“He is a ghost,” de Iesu said, referring to Amri’s lack of documents or phone.

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2:15 p.m.

Visitors to the Berlin Christmas market where 12 people died and dozens were injured in a truck attack earlier this week say they’re relieved to learn that the key suspect was killed in Milan.

The market outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the center of the capital reopened Thursday with extra security.

Berlin resident Gustel Kasorka says he is happy the attacker is not alive anymore.

French tourist Lucy Dalbourgh says it’s “a bit weird to imagine” that Amri could simply have taken a train from Berlin without being arrested.

Anis Amri was shot by Milan police after he opened fire on them during a routine stop early Friday.

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2:10 p.m.

The Tunisian hometown of Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri is reeling at news that he was killed by police in Milan.

Amri’s brother Abdelkader told The Associated Press by telephone Friday that the family wants to find out the “truth about my brother.” He hung up when asked about the family’s reaction to Amri’s death.

The family ordered a crowd outside their house to leave when news of Friday’s police shootout reached the central Tunisian town of Oueslatia, according to neighbor Wiem Khemili. Police stood guard around the impoverished town, where everyone is talking about Amri.

Amri’s mother and siblings have questioned German authorities’ accusation that he drove a truck through a Berlin Christmas market Monday, killing 12 and wounding dozens.

The Islamic State group, which has recruited thousands of disillusioned young Tunisians to fight in Syria and Libya, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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2:05 p.m.

The Aamaq news agency, run by the Islamic State group, says in a statement that the perpetrator of the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market carried out a new attack against an Italian police patrol in Milan and was killed in an exchange of fire.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Monday attack that killed 12 people and injured 56 others.

Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, was killed in a shootout with police in Milan on Friday. He shot a police officer in the shoulder, but the wound was superficial and a surgeon said he was in good condition.

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2 p.m.

Milan’s police chief says it’s “suggestive” that the truck used in the Berlin Christmas market attack had taken on its load in a Milan suburb not far from where the main suspect was killed in a police shootout.

Chief Antonio de Iesu says investigators are looking into Anis Amri’s possible contacts in Milan, but that there’s no clear connection so far.

Amri was killed during a 3 a.m. police shootout in Sesto San Giovanni, an industrial and residential suburb of Milan. On Dec. 16, the truck used in the Berlin attack was in another Milan suburb, Cinisello Balsamo, to take on its load of street cleaning equipment.

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1:40 p.m.

Germany’s top prosecutor says investigators are trying to determine whether the suspect in the deadly truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market had help from a network of supporters in planning the attack and then fleeing to Italy.

Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, was shot dead early Friday by police conducting a routine stop in Milan after he opened fire on them.

Chief Federal Prosecutor Peter Frank says his office is working with Italian authorities to reconstruct the route Amri took to get there from Berlin.

He says authorities in Milan were able to identify Amri with help from fingerprints provided by German authorities.

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1:10 p.m.

Milan police chief Antonio de Iesu says the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack passed through France before arriving by train at Milan’s central station around 1 a.m. Friday.

Italian officials say 24-year-old Anis Amri was shot dead a few hours later outside a different train station in suburban Milan after he opened fire on police who asked him for ID. They were suspicious because the station was closed at that hour.

De Iesu said Amri “surely passed through France,” but he declined to provide further information about Amri’s travels, citing the ongoing investigation.

German officials issued a Europe-wide wanted notice for Amri on Wednesday, after he was identified as the key suspect in the truck attack that killed 12 people and injured 56 others.

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12:40 p.m.

A Milan anti-terrorism official says the suspect in the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market arrived at Milan’s train station early Friday and investigators are trying to figure out where he came from.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about the investigation, says Anis Amri made his way to the piazza outside the Sesto San Giovanni train station in a suburb of Milan, which is 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) away from the main train station.

The official says two police officers were suspicious because it was 3 a.m. and the station was closed. When they asked for ID he fired at them, injuring one of the officers. The other killed Amri with a single shot to the chest.

Officials are still trying to determine how he arrived at the piazza. Some buses run at that hour, but no trains, trams or metros.

The official says investigators are working to determine what contacts, if any, Amri had in Milan. There is no evidence that he ever passed through Milan during his previous stay in Italy, where he spent more than three years in prison.

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12:20 p.m.

The Czech foreign minister says a Czech woman was among the 12 people killed in the truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek tells reporters that Nada Cizmar lived in Berlin with her Czech-born husband Petr, who reported her missing to consular officers shortly after the Monday attack.

The foreign ministry says German authorities confirmed Thursday that she was among the victims.

According to her Facebook profile, Cizmar had worked for a logistics company in Berlin since 2014.

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12:15 p.m.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni says he phoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel to inform her that the Christmas market attack suspect had been killed.

Gentiloni said the overnight capture and killing of Amis Amri in Milan shows the importance of increased law enforcement collaboration at both national and international levels.

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11:40 a.m.

German Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate has voiced his department’s relief that the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack appears to have been killed in Italy.

After Italy’s interior minister, Marco Minniti, said Anis Amri had been shot in an early-hours shootout in Milan, Plate said “should this turn out to be true then the Interior Ministry is relieved that this person doesn’t pose a threat anymore.”

Plate said Germany had not yet received official written notification from Italy but that a German police liaison office in Rome had been informed.

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11:30 a.m.

Italy’s interior minister Marco Minniti says one of the two police officers who apprehended the Berlin Christmas market attacker in Milan was shot but that his condition is not life-threatening.

Minniti said the other officer fatally shot Anis Amri during the shootout early Friday.

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11:15 a.m.

Italy’s interior minister says a man killed in an early-hours shootout in Milan is “without a shadow of doubt” the Berlin Christmas market attacker.

Marco Minniti said after the shootout all the necessary checks were conducted and that “the person killed, without a shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri, the suspect of the terrorist attack.”

Minniti said German authorities were immediately informed.

He said the two police officers who were on patrol and stopped Amri “have done an extraordinary service to the community.”

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11:05 a.m.

A man killed in a shootout with police in Milan early Friday is the main suspect the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Italy’s Interior Ministry called a press conference for Friday morning.

The shootout with suspect Anis Amri took place at 3 a.m. in Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni neighborhood during a routine police check, ANSA said.

He pulled a gun from his backpack after being asked to show his identity papers and was killed in the ensuing shootout, ANSA reported.

A police officer was injured.

ANSA said various sources in Milan and Rome confirmed that the dead man was Amri, who German authorities believe drove the truck that plowed into the Christmas market Monday. Citing Milan anti-terrorism police, ANSA said authorities positively identified Amri from his physical appearance and fingerprints.