Berlin attack suspect killed
MILAN: Italian police yesterday shot dead the prime suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack, ending a frantic four-day hunt for Europe’s most-wanted man. Tunisian Anis Amri, 24, is believed to have hijacked a truck and used it to mow down holiday revelers at the market on Monday, killing 12 and wounding dozens more. The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility and released a video yesterday in which Amri is shown pledging allegiance to IS chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
He had been missing since escaping after the attack Monday, but his time on the run was cut short thanks to a combination of luck and the quick reflexes of rookie police officer Luca Scata. The 29-year-old, still officially a trainee, shot the Tunisian twice after he had fired on his patrol partner, Christian Movio, 36. The officers had stopped Amri in the early hours of yesterday near Milan’s Sesto San Giovanni train station. They had no idea of who they were dealing with.
“He was completely calm, they asked him to empty his backpack and with a sudden movement he pulled out the pistol, which was loaded and ready to use,” said Roberto Guida, the neighborhood police head. Police said Amri had initially tried to pass himself off as being from southern Italy and had shouted “b ***** d police” in Italian before opening fire. Movio, the officer shot by Amri, underwent successful surgery to repair the damage to his shoulder later yesterday and was able to joke with visitors to his hospital bed. “I’m happy to have been useful,” he told one.
German authorities are investigating whether Amri was part of a “network” with accomplices still at large. Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the news, saying: “We can be relieved at the end of this week that the acute danger is over. However the danger of terrorism in general endures, as it has for several years. We all know that.” Amri’s death came as German police arrested two brothers on suspicion of planning to attack a shopping mall, while authorities in both Australia and Indonesia reported that Christmas terror plots had been foiled.
Milan police chief Antonio De Iesu said Amri had arrived in Italy from Germany via France. He had no telephone on him and only a few hundred euros. German police said they found his fingerprints in the truck, next to the body of its registered Polish driver, who was killed with a gunshot to the head. A €100,000 ($104,000) reward had been offered for information leading to Amri’s arrest.
Prominent politicians in Germany and Italy warned that lessons had to be learned from mistakes that might have contributed to Amri being able to carry out his attack. —AFP (See Page 10)
Italian police and forensics experts stand by the body of suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri after he was shot dead in Milan early yesterday. (Inset) An image grab taken from an Islamic State propaganda video shows Amri pledging allegiance to IS on the Kieler Bruecke, a Berlin bridge. —AFP