ROME (AP) — The Tunisian man suspected of driving a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin was killed early Friday in a shootout with police in Milan, ending a Europe-wide manhunt, Italy’s interior minister said.
Checks conducted after the shootout showed “the person killed, without a shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri, the suspect of the terrorist attack,” Interior Minister Marco Minniti said.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Monday attack in Berlin, which killed 12 and injured 56 others.
Amri, who had spent time in prison in Italy, was stopped by two officers during a routine police check in the Sesto San Giovanni neighborhood of Milan early Friday. He pulled a gun from his backpack after being asked to show his identity papers and was killed in the ensuing shootout.
One of the two officers was shot by Amri and is in the hospital, but his condition is not life-threatening, Minniti said. The other officer fatally shot Amri.
It was unclear how and when Amri traveled from Berlin to Milan. German authorities issued a Europe-wide wanted notice for him on Wednesday, two days after the attack.
Authorities say Amri, 24, has used at least six different names and three nationalities in his travels around Europe.
He left Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and initially spent time in Italy.
He was repeatedly transferred among Sicilian prisons for bad conduct, with prison records saying he bullied inmates and tried to spark insurrections. He served 3 ½ years for setting a fire at a refugee center and making threats, among other things – but Italy apparently detected no signs that he was becoming radicalized.
German authorities had deemed Amri, who arrived in the country last year, a potential threat long before the attack this week – and even kept him under covert surveillance for six months this year.
They had been trying to deport him after his asylum application was rejected in July but were unable to do so because he lacked valid identity papers and Tunisia initially denied that he was a citizen.