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Tuesday 17 January 2017

Terror fugitive travelled openly despite manhunt

Anis Amri was shot dead in Milan. Photo: AP
Anis Amri was shot dead in Milan. Photo: AP

The Tunisian man suspected of the deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin was killed in a shootout with police in Milan during a routine patrol, ending a Europe-wide manhunt.

Italian police said Anis Amri travelled from Germany through France and into Italy after the attack.

Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni praised the two police officers for their courage in taking down Amri during a routine check of ID papers.

But he also called for greater cross-border police co-operation, suggesting dismay that Amri was able to easily move through Europe's open borders despite being Europe's No. 1 fugitive.

"The person killed, without a shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri, the suspect of the Berlin terrorist attack," said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti.

Cristian Movio, the Milan policemen who shot dead the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack, was injured in the shootout. Photo: Reuters
Cristian Movio, the Milan policemen who shot dead the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack, was injured in the shootout. Photo: Reuters

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack outside Berlin's Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in which a truck plowed into a crowd of shoppers, killing 12 people and injuring 56 others.

Italian officials stressed that the young officers who stopped Amri didn't suspect he was the Berlin attacker, but were suspicious because he was a North African man, alone outside a deserted train station at 3am.

Routine

Amri (24), who had spent time in prison in Italy, was stopped during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni neighbourhood of Milan early yesterday.

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

One of the officers, Christian Movio (35), was shot in the right shoulder and underwent surgery for a superficial wound and was in good condition. Movio's 29-year-old partner, Luca Scata, fatally shot Amri in the chest.

Amri arrived by train at Milan's central station, where video surveillance showed him at around 1am on Friday. A train ticket indicates he travelled from Chambery, France through Turin and into Milan, an Italian anti-terrorism official said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Amri made his way to the piazza outside the Sesto San Giovanni train station, which is 7.5 kilometres from the main train station.

"It is now of great significance for us to establish whether the suspect had a network of supporters or helpers," said Germany's chief federal prosecutor, Peter Frank.

Video

Prosecutors also want to know whether the gun Amri was carrying in Milan was the same one used to shoot the Polish driver of the truck he had commandeered for the attack, Frank added. The driver was found dead in the vehicle's cab.

In a video released after his death, Amri is seen pledging his allegiance to militant group IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"I call on my Muslim brothers everywhere... Those in Europe, kill the crusader pigs, each person to their own ability," he says in the video posted on Islamic State's Amaq news agency.

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