The suspect behind Monday’s Berlin Christmas attack has been killed in a shootout with Italian police just this early Friday morning in Milan. The Italian interior minister confirmed during a press conference following the incident that they are certain “without a shadow of doubt” that the man killed by the Italian police in the said shootout was indeed the suspect behind the terror act in Berlin Christmas market.
The shootout with the suspect earlier identified by the German police as Anis Amri happened in a Milan neighborhood during a routine police check at about 3 a.m. The police reportedly stopped the suspect’s car and asked for his identity papers but he pulled a gun from his backpack instead and a shoot-out with the police ensued, leaving one Milan police officer injured.
The German police and authorities have launched a European-wide manhunt for the suspect and offered $105,000 reward money to anyone who can offer information to the suspect’s whereabouts, fearing that the 23-year-old Tunisian, an asylum seeker in Germany, poses a grave threat to the public as he was armed and dangerous.
Italian police was able to positively identify Amri based on his appearance and fingerprints.
Authorities discovered that Amri has used at least six different names and three nationalities in his travels around Europe. He left Tunisia following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and first went to Italy where he was sentenced to a four-year prison term for starting a fire in the refugee center. Amri had a number of prison transfers due to bad conduct and prison records showed that he was also involved in bullying inmates and even tried to trigger insurrections. Italian authorities at that time failed to detect signs of his radicalization. He was released in 2015 and made his way to Germany.
Italian interior minister Marco Minniti has praised the Italian police involved in the operations with Amri for having done an “extraordinary service to the community”.
Amri was born in ISIS-stronghold Tunisia and has been on government surveillance for months but authorities have not arrested him due to lack of evidence. Questions now are being put forward as to why surveillance on Amri has been allowed to be downgraded given his record and potential for getting involved in terror activities. Amri was reportedly scheduled to be deported back to Tunisia but Germany and Tunisia were still working out the legal process for the procedure before the horrific terror act happened that left 12 people killed and 48 other injured.