Berlin market suspect killed in shootout with Italian police in Milan
The Tunisian man sought as the primary suspect in connection with the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market this week was killed early Friday morning by Italian police near Milan, Italy.
Anis Amri, whose bid for asylum in Germany was rejected in July, became the subject of a massive manhunt on Thursday morning after authorities discovered his personal documents in the cab of the truck used in the Berlin attack, and his fingerprints on the door.Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said at a news conference that the incident began early Friday morning near the Sesto San Giovanni train station in Milan’s outskirts. Two police officers stopped the man presumed to be Amri, who was on foot, and asked to see his identification.
Amri then removed a handgun from a backpack and shot one of the officers in the shoulder before being fatally shot by the other officer, Minniti said. He added that Amri had been identified “without a shadow of a doubt.”
Minniti lauded the two officers who stopped Amri, and said the one who was shot in the shoulder was not seriously injured.
Amri spent at last three years in an Italian jail after being arrested as a juvenile in connection with a fire started at a center for migrants.
In his native Tunisia, Amri’s brother Walid has said he and his family were “shocked” by his brother’s alleged involvement in the attack.
‘If he can see me now, I would tell him ‘you should not have done this,’” Walid Amri told the Associated Press. In a separate interview, Walid told Sky News Arabia that he believed his brother became radicalized while serving his prison sentence in Italy.“It’s the time he did in Italy that changed him,” Walid told Sky. “When he left here, he was a normal person; he used to drink alcohol, he did not pray. He got into religion during his time in prison after he’s met with many people inside. He met with Algerians, Egyptians, Syrians, and others from all over the place.”
Sources confirmed to CBS News on Thursday that Anis Amri was placed on the U.S. no-fly list in July of this year, after German authorities advised he was under investigation for links to terrorism.
CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata reported Thursday that investigators trying to piece together his past had determined that Amri crossed into Germany in July 2015. He applied for asylum, but was rejected in July 2016.
He was already known to authorities as a possible terror threat, and had been under surveillance until just three months before this week’s attack because of alleged ties to Abu Walaa, an Iraqi who was arrested in Germany only last month, accused of recruiting fighters for ISIS.
Amri should have been deported from Germany after his asylum request was denied. He was even in police custody after being caught with fake papers. But he slipped through Germany’s law enforcement net, and now officials are asking how that happened.
As D’Agata reports, for the German government, Amri presented a worst-case scenario; a failed asylum seeker with connections to ISIS, an alleged mass murderer... and still on the run.