Po­lice kill sus­pect in shootout in Mi­lan

Euro­peans dis­mayed as fugi­tive went from Ger­many to France to Italy

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Colleen Barry and Frank Jor­dans

mi­lan» A rou­tine re­quest for ID pa­pers out­side a de­serted train sta­tion in Mi­lan at 3 a.m. Fri­day led to a po­lice shootout that killed the Tu­nisian fugi­tive wanted in the deadly Christ­mas mar­ket at­tack in Ber­lin.

While au­thor­i­ties ex­pressed re­lief that the search for Anis Amri was over, his four­day run raised fresh ques­tions about whether he had any ac­com­plices and how Europe can stop ex­trem­ists from mov­ing freely across its open bor­ders, even amid an in­tense man­hunt.

Ital­ian po­lice said Amri trav­eled from Ger­many through France and into Italy af­ter Mon­day night’s truck ram­page in Ber­lin, and at least some of his jour­ney was by rail. French of­fi­cials re­fused to com­ment on his pas­sage through France, which has in­creased sur­veil­lance on trains af­ter re­cent at­tacks in France and Ger­many.

Ital­ian Premier Paolo Gen­tiloni called for greater cross-bor­der po­lice co­op­er­a­tion, sug­gest­ing some dis­may that Europe’s open fron­tier pol­icy had en­abled Amri to move around eas­ily de­spite be­ing its No. 1 fugi­tive.

Amri, whose fin­ger­prints and wal­let were found in the truck that plowed into Christ­mas mar­ket out­side Ber­lin’s Kaiser Wil­helm Memo­rial Church, killing 12 peo­ple and in­jur­ing 56 oth­ers, was caught seem­ingly by chance af­ter elud­ing po­lice for more than three days.

“He was a ghost,” Mi­lan po­lice chief An­toio de Iesu said, adding that Amri was stopped be­cause of ba­sic po­lice work, in­ten­si­fied sur­veil­lance “and a lit­tle luck.”

Like other cities, Mi­lan has been on height­ened alert, with in­creased sur­veil­lance and po­lice pa­trols. Ital­ian of­fi­cials stressed that the two young of­fi­cers who

stopped Amri didn’t sus­pect he was the Ber­lin at­tacker, but rather grew sus­pi­cious be­cause he was a North African man alone out­side a de­serted train sta­tion in the dead of night.

Amri, who had spent time in prison in Italy, was con­fronted by the of­fi­cers in the Sesto San Gio­vanni neigh­bor­hood of Mi­lan.

He pulled a gun from his back­pack af­ter be­ing asked to show his ID and was killed in an en­su­ing shootout.

One of the of­fi­cers, Chris­tian Movio, 35, was shot in the right shoul­der and had surgery for what doc­tors said was a su­per­fi­cial wound. His 29-yearold part­ner, Luca Scata, fa­tally shot Amri in the chest.

The sus­pect had no ID or cell­phone and car­ried only a pocket knife and the loaded .22-cal­iber pis­tol he used to shoot Movio, po­lice said. He was iden­ti­fied with the help of fin­ger­prints supplied by Ger­many.

The Is­lamic State has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for Mon­day’s at­tack. On Fri­day, it noted his death in Mi­lan and re­leased a sep­a­rate video show­ing Amri swear­ing al­le­giance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi, while vow­ing to fight non-Mus­lims.

The video, which ap­peared to have been taken by Amri him­self, showed him on a foot­bridge in north­ern Ber­lin, not far from where the truck used in the at­tack was hi­jacked. It was not known when the video was taken.

Ger­man au­thor­i­ties were sus­pi­cious of Amri and had put him un­der covert sur­veil­lance for six months fol­low­ing a warn­ing from in­tel­li­gence agen­cies that he might be plan­ning an at­tack. But the sur­veil­lance ended in Septem­ber af­ter po­lice found no proof of his al­leged plans.

Sep­a­rately, Ger­man au­thor­i­ties tried to de­port Amri af­ter his asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected in July but were un­able to do so be­cause he lacked valid iden­tity pa­pers, and Tu­nisia ini­tially de­nied that he was a cit­i­zen. Au­thor­i­ties said he has used at least six names and three na­tion­al­i­ties. Even as she voiced re­lief at the news from Mi­lan, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel or­dered a com­pre­hen­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine whether mis­takes had been made and le­gal hur­dles had ham­pered the au­thor­i­ties’ han­dling of the case.

“We can be re­lieved at the end of this week that one acute dan­ger has been ended,” she said in Ber­lin. “But the dan­ger of ter­ror­ism as a whole re­mains, as it has for many years — we all know that.”

Amri passed through France be­fore ar­riv­ing by train at Mi­lan’s cen­tral sta­tion where video sur­veil­lance showed him at about 1 a.m. Fri­day, de Iesu said.

A Mi­lan anti-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cial, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to talk pub­licly about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said Amri made his way to the pi­azza out­side the Sesto San Gio­vanni train sta­tion that is nearly 5 miles from the main sta­tion.

Au­thor­i­ties are still try­ing to de­ter­mine how Amri ar­rived at the pi­azza be­cause only a few buses op­er­ate at that hour.

Ital­ian foren­sics ex­perts gather around the body of sus­pected Ber­lin truck at­tacker Anis Amri af­ter he was killed Fri­day in Mi­lan. Daniele Bennati, AFP, Getty Im­ages

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