2016-12-23 18:57:00

Italian Police kill Berlin Christmas Market suspect

(Vatican Radio) Germany has expressed relief after Italian police confirmed that they shot dead the man believed to be responsible for this week's Berlin Christmas market truck attack that left 12 people dead and 49 injured. 

Officials said the shooting happened after the suspect pulled a gun on them during a routine check in the early hours of Friday. 

The 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri travelled to Italy from France, triggering a Europe-wide manhunt and criticism from euroskeptics over Europe's open-border Schengen pact. 

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:

The Islamic State group acknowledged on Friday that Amri was shot dead in a police shootout overnight in Milan when he tried to carry out another attack. 

It said he carried out Monday's rampage which involved driving a truck deliberately into crowd killing 12 people and injuring nearly 50 more. 

The group's news agency posted a video of Amri pledging allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and calling for supporters of the militant group to take revenge of what he called “crusader pigs” bombing Muslims. 


An Italian police chief said his men had no idea they might be dealing with Amri when they approached him at around 3 a.m. local time outside a station in Sesto San Giovanni, a suburb of the northern city of Milan.

Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti confirmed that police later discovered they had killed one of Europe's most wanted men. "After an investigation it was found that the person who was killed, without a shadow of a doubt, Anis Amri the 
presumed suspect in the Berlin lorry attack," he told reporters. 

Police said he was killed after taking out a pistol and opening fire. He injured one of the police officers who is recovering in hospital.      

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who spoke with his Italian counterpart, expressed relieve that the attacker was no longer a threat and praised Italian police. "I would like to especially thank these two polices officers who, during this night, just as my Italian colleagues have confirmed, worked excellently and were particularly brave," he said. 

"One of the police officers was injured in a very minor way. I am very relieved that no more danger will come from this attacker," he added. "The Italian authorities have already carried out a fingerprint recognition and could, thus, confirm the identity of the suspected attacker."

He cautioned however that the terror threat "remains high" in Germany and security won't be scaled down. Islamic State has warned of more attacks in Germany and other European nations. 

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