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Berlin attack: Anis Amri 'shouted Allahu Akbar' during gun battle with Italian police in Milan

Police say suspect opened fire after officers stopped him to ask for ID documents

Lizzie Dearden
Berlin
Friday 23 December 2016 12:21 GMT
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Scene of Berlin suspect shooting in Milan

Anis Amri reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” while shooting at police in Italy after being stopped during a routine patrol.

The suspect was shot dead during the gun battle in Milan in the early hours of this morning, being found with the same weapon used to kill the driver of the lorry hijacked in Berlin.

He is thought to have travelled to Italy from France after a train ticket was discovered in his backpack, suggesting he evaded authorities in at least three countries despite being the subject of a Europe-wide manhunt.

It indicated he had travelled by high speed train from Chambery in France to the northern Italian city of Turin, before catching a regional train to the suburbs of Milan, a source told Reuters.

He said police were tipped of that Amri could be in the area, triggering additional patrols.

Three suspects have been arrested because of alleged links to Anis Amri (AP)

Amri was shot in a square near Sesto San Giovanni railway station, Il Giornale reported, suggesting he had recently arrived. The reason for Amri's arrival in Italy was unknown and there was speculation he may have been attempting to reach an Islamist network who could give him cover.

Investigations by counter-terror police in Milan showed the .22 calibre pistol Amri used to shoot officers was the same gun used to kill the driver of the lorry that ploughed into the German Christmas market.

Marco Minniti, Italy’s interior minister, said officers were patrolling in Sesto San Giovanni at 3am local time when they stopped a man matching Amri’s description.

“At the moment he was stopped, the man without hesitating took a pistol out of his rucksack and shot the police after they asked him for identification documents,” he told a press conference.

“The patrol immediately responded to the shooting. A police officer was injured but fortunately he is recovering in hospital.

“State police officers responded and the person who attacked our patrol was killed.

“Investigations have revealed that the person killed, without any shadow of a doubt, is Anis Amri.”

Amri is believed to have hijacked the lorry from its Polish driver, Lukasz Urban, as he was parked up in Berlin on Monday afternoon.

The lorry’s GPS showed it moved backwards and forwards “as if someone was learning how to drive it” before it drove around six miles to the Christmas market, accelerating to plough into stalls packed with locals and tourists.

Almost £100,000 has been raised for Mr Urban’s family, including his wife and teenage son, amid reports he gave his life fighting the hijacker in a desperate attempt to stop the attack.

Amri fled after the lorry came to a stop, leaving Mr Urban dead in the cabin with knife and bullet wounds. The gun was not recovered, prompting warnings during he was “armed and dangerous” from German prosecutors.

They offered a €100,000 (£85,000) reward for information leading to Amri’s arrest and it was unclear if the money would be paid out.

Reports of the shooting came as Danish police hunted a man matching Amri’s description in Aalborg.

German authorities had attempted to deport the 24-year-old in June after rejecting his asylum application but a bureaucratic dispute with Tunisia over missing documents proving Amri’s nationality meant he could not be ejected from the country.

German police presence has been increased since an attack on a Christmas market that killed 12 people (Reuters)

Revelations that he had been put under surveillance for six months after being linked to a previous terror plot stoked anger against security services for letting him slip through the net.

Amri’s brothers believe he may have been radicalised while serving a prison sentence for arson in Sicily, while he was wanted for armed robbery in Tunisia.

He known to deal drugs in Berlin and had been involved in a violent brawl, fitting the profile of young criminals frequently targeted by Isis recruiters with the offer of “redemption”.

Investigations into Amri’s associates and a possible wider terror network in Germany continue, after he was linked with two jailed extremist preachers convicted for supporting Isis.

Separately, German special forces arrested two brothers suspected of planning a terror attack on a shopping centre in the city of Oberhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Police said the operation in Duisburg had no connection to Amri and the Berlin attack.

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