The Berlin Christmas market attacker had pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Islamic State leader, who had called for Islamic State supporters to take their revenge on “crusaders” that were bombing Muslims. This was made apparent in footage posted on Amaq news agency. Reuters relays the leader’s words spoken to ISIS supporters.
“My message to crusaders bombing Muslims everyday… Their blood will not go in vain. We are a nation behind them and will take revenge for them,” he said. I call on my Muslim brothers everywhere… Those in Europe, kill the crusader pigs, each person to their own ability.”
Tunisian-born terror suspect Anis Amri, who was being sought by police after he plowed through Berlin’s Christmas market, was answering the call to action. Following the attack on Monday, 24-year-old Amri reportedly fled to Italy from France, which sparked criticism revolving around Europe’s open-border Schengen pact.
Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri shot dead by police in Milan – Italian media https://t.co/JWcyUfmxb8
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) December 23, 2016
On Friday morning, in the early hours, Italian police are said to have shot Amri who has now been confirmed to be the man responsible for this week’s Berlin Christmas market truck attack which killed 12 people, after the young man pulled a gun on them during a routine security check.
A police chief on the scene stated that his men were not aware that they may have been dealing with Amri when he was approached at around 3 a.m. outside a station in Sesto San Giovanni – a suburb of the city of Milan.
The Islamic State has since acknowledged Amri’s death as well as his suspected role in the German attack. The militant group has claimed responsibility via its Amaq news agency, stating “The executor of the Berlin attacks carries out another attack on Italian police in Milan and is killed in a shoot-out.”
As the publication reminds, a truck driven by Amri mowed over a crowd of people and knocked down wooden huts that were selling Christmas merchandise, gifts, and snacks beside a famous Berlin church.
Milan police chief Antonio De Iesu shared with reporters that Amri had arrived from France at Milan’s main railway station at roughly 1 a.m. He then traveled to Sesto San Giovanni where he was approached by two young police because he appeared suspicious.
“We had no intelligence that he could be in Milan,” De Iesu said. “They had no perception that it could be him otherwise they would have been much more cautious.”
Amri failed to produce any identification so police then requested that he empty his pockets and the backpack he carried with him. Instead, he pulled out a loaded gun from his bag and shot one of the men who was only wounded slightly on his shoulder.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) December 23, 2016
The assailant then hid behind a nearby car but the other policeman on the scene was able to shoot him twice, killing the attacker on the spot. The Berlin Christmas market attacker, was then identified by his finger prints.
Reuters shares additional details about Amri and his connections in Milan
“De Iesu said that besides the gun, Amri had been carrying a small pocket knife. He also had a few hundred euros on him but no cell phone. Amri once spent four years in jail in Italy and police were trying to work out if he knew someone in Sesto. A judicial source had earlier told Reuters that police had a tip off that Amri might be in the Milan area and that additional patrols had been sent out to look for him. De Iesu denied that, saying only that the authorities had recently ordered tighter security and more identification checks across the country.”
Amri had originally arrived in Europe in 2011 after reaching the Italian island of Lampedusa by boat. At the time he told authorities that he was a minor but not able to produce documents proving this. He was then transferred to Catania, Sicily where he was enrolled in school. It was later determined that Amri was not a minor.
Anis Amri’s movements in Europe. He had arrived illegally but could not be deported. Something has gone badly wrong. pic.twitter.com/bx17t3ozTE
— Daniel Hannan (@DanielJHannan) December 23, 2016
Only months later, he was arrested by police after attempting to set fire to the school. He was convicted of vandalism, threats, and theft. Amri also spent four years in Italian prisons before he was ordered out of the country, but Tunisia refused to accept him back due to not having I.D. papers. He then moved to Germany and applied for asylum, but was rejected as he was viewed as a potential threat. He could not be deported due to lack of documentation.
[Feature Image by Antonio Calanni/AP Images]