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Italy’s interior minister: Berlin attack suspect shot dead in Milan

Rescue workers inspect the crashed truck at a Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz square near the fashionable Kurfuerstendamm avenue in the west of Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

December 23, 2016

BERLIN — The Tunisian national sought in connection with the deadly Berlin truck attack was killed Friday in a shootout with police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister announced.

Minister Marco Minniti told a news conference that the man killed is “without a shadow of doubt” the attacker, Anis Amri, 24. German authorities said they were trying to determine whether Amri had a network of accomplices.

Also on Friday, the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency released a video that showed Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group before the truck rampage through a Christmas market, the terrorist monitoring group SITE reported. The attack killed 12 and injured 48.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that Amri was stopped during a routine police check at around 3 a.m. local time and was asked to show his identity documents. He allegedly pulled a gun from his backpack and shot an officer in the shoulder. The other officer then shot and killed Amri, Minniti said. He said the wounded officer’s condition was not life-threatening.

Antonio de Iesu, Milan’s police chief, said Amri traveled through France before arriving in Milan by train at around 1 a.m. local time Friday.

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

Merkel said she ordered a review of the case. That will almost certainly include an assessment of what investigators knew about Amri. He had been tracked for several months on suspicion of planning an attack. Authorities will also want to know how Amri managed to travel all the way from Germany to Italy when he was the subject of an intense, Europe-wide manhunt.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Germany’s high alert level would not be scaled back.

In western Germany, police said Friday that they had detained two Kosovo-born brothers on suspicion of planning to carry out an attack on a shopping mall in the town of Oberhausen, near the Dutch border. Police said there did not appear to be a connection to the Berlin attack.

German prosecutors said Amri’s fingerprints were found on the truck and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said it was highly likely he was the perpetrator. Amri’s family in Tunisia had urged him to surrender during the four days he remained at large.

German and Italian media reported that Amri left Tunisia in 2011 after the Arab Spring uprising there and traveled to Italy on a boat with other migrants. He lived in Catania, Sicily and pretended to be a minor at age 19, La Stampa reported.

He served four years in jail in Italy for trying to set fire to his school, according to the reports. After completing his sentence, Amri could not be deported because Tunisia did not recognize him as a citizen, so he moved to Germany, Italian media said.