The chief suspect in Monday’s deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market has been killed, Italian authorities say. Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian man, was shot dead by police at around 3 AM local time in the northern Sesto San Giovanni area of the city. During a routine patrol, he was asked to show identification, but pulled a .22 calibre pistol and fired, hitting the officer making the request. A second officer opened fire and killed Amri, officials said. The officer who was shot is in hospital, although his injury does not appear to be life-threatening.
European and international news nets commenced blanket coverage as reports emerged early Friday morning. Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti held a press conference, confirming Amri as the key suspect.
“The person who attacked our police officers was killed,” said Minniti. “There is absolutely no doubt that the person who was killed was Anis Amri, the suspect in the terrorist attack in Berlin.”
— Polizia di Stato (@poliziadistato) December 23, 2016
The Berlin Police department tweeted its thanks to Italy and wished a speedy recovery to the injured officer.
— Polizei Berlin (@polizeiberlin) December 23, 2016
The early-morning incident followed a manhunt across Europe after Monday’s events when a truck plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring dozens. The Islamic State on Tuesday claimed responsibility, saying the driver was “a soldier of ISIS.”
Amri, who moved to Italy in 2011 and relocated to Germany in 2015, previously spent time in an Italian prison for arson and Minniti said today this remains an active investigation.
Christmas markets are very popular destinations throughout Europe and following Monday’s carnage, security was heightened across the region. France particularly has already been on high alert after a wave of terrorist attacks in the past two years, including the events in Nice this summer when a truck killed 86 people and injured hundreds after a Bastille Day fireworks display.