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ATTACK

What we know about fatal shooting of Berlin attack suspect in Milan

On Friday, Anis Amri, the man wanted over Monday's attack on a Berlin Christmas market, was shot by police in Milan, Italy's Interior Minister has confirmed.

What we know about fatal shooting of Berlin attack suspect in Milan
Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri. Photo: BKA

On Friday morning, Italian police reported that there had been a shootout between police and a driver in the northern city of Milan during a routine check, leaving one policeman lightly injured. Interior Minister Marco Minniti confirmed in a press conference that there was “not a shadow of a doubt” that this man was Amri.

LIVE: Berlin truck attack suspect Amri shot dead in Milan

The attack happened shortly after 3am at the Sesto San Giovanni station. Amri was on foot and, when asked to show his ID documents, pulled a gun out of hid backpack and opened fire on the officers, reportedly shouting 'Allahu Akbar'. Police then shot and killed Amri.

In a press conference, Italy's newly appointed Interior Minister Marco Minniti praised the “exceptional” work of Italian police officers, who acted “without hesitation” and were “extraordinary people, of a very young age”. 

“This was the most wanted man in Europe. We identified him and neutralized him,” Minniti said.

“This means our security is working really well.”

The officer who killed Amri was 29-year-old Luca Scata, originally from Sicily, Ansa reported. The injured officer has been named as Cristian Movio, 36; he was reportedly lightly injured in the shoulder and is in hospital in Monza, Lombardy.

Minniti said that the officers stopped Amri because he was acting “suspiciously”. He wished Movio a speedy recovery, and said he had already spoken to them and would visit them in the coming days to “personally embrace them”.

“Italy is grateful to them. Thanks to people like them, Italians will have an even happier Christmas.”

Meanwhile Italy's police chief Franco Gabrielli said he was “proud of their professionalism”.

Numerous groups have been set up on Facebook called 'Luca Scata is a global hero' and 'Give Luca Scata' a medal.

Italy's new prime minister Paolo Gentiloni, who like Minniti has been in office for less than two weeks, has spoken, saying that he personally called German Chancellor Angela Merkel to inform her of the shooting.

Ex-prime minister Matteo Renzi also praised Italian police, saying they were “among the best in the world, even if it is not always recognized”.

Lines of inquiry

While it seems increasingly certain Amri has indeed been killed – though German authorities have yet to confirm this – the investigation will not end here. Police have said they identified Amri through facial recognition data and fingerprints.

Italian media reported on Friday that police were working to verify whether the gun used was the same weapon used to shoot the Polish truck driver who was the first victim on Monday. 

The Italian anti-terrorism unit DIGOS said on Friday that Amri had arrived in Milan at 1am by train, travelling from Chambery in France via Turin.

Amri's links to Italy

Anis Amri lived in Italy after leaving Tunisia in 2011, a Tunisian security source told AFP on Wednesday.

According to daily La Stampa, he arrived on Italy's shores by boat and moved to Catania, where he got in trouble for threatening and hurting other students, before eventually attempting to set fire to the school.

The arson attempt led to his arrest in October 2011. In prison he was treated as dangerous but showed no signs of radicalization, Italian media report.

An expulsion order issued after Amri had completed his sentence was blocked by red tape in Tunisia, which did not recognize him as a citizen, and Amri was able to travel to Germany. 

It is not clear why he returned to Italy following the attack; for example, whether he had a network or accomplices in the country or was simply trying to flee. “This event could lead to future developments,” said Minniti.

After the attack in Berlin on Monday, which the German interior minister says Amri likely carried out, one Italian was killed and two injured. Milan was among the European cities which reacted swiftly, closing stalls for half an hour in tribute at its own Christmas market to pay respects to the victims, and installing concrete blocks to prevent large vehicle access.

For the latest updates, follow The Local Germany's live blog.

MUSEUM

UPDATE: Mysterious vandals damage dozens of works of art on Berlin’s Museum Island

Vandals have damaged more than 70 artworks and artifacts at some of Berlin's most renowned museums, police said Wednesday, in a targeted attack kept quiet by authorities for more than two weeks.

UPDATE: Mysterious vandals damage dozens of works of art on Berlin's Museum Island
The sun sets on the Alte Nationalgalerie in July. Photo: DPA

The damage had already occurred on October 3rd, or the Day of German Reunification, according to media reports in Zeit and Deutschland Rundfunk. 

Around 70 objects in the Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie, among other locations, were sprayed with an oily liquid. 

According to Die Zeit, this is “one of the most extensive attacks on works of art and antiquities in the history of post-war Germany”. 

Among them are Egyptian sarcophagi, stone sculptures and paintings of the 19th century. The liquid had left visible stains on them.

According to Berlin's Tagesspiegel, visitors who had booked museum tickets for October 3rd were contacted by the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) and urgently asked for help.

“The state criminal investigation office of the Berlin police has opened a probe over property damage to artworks and artifacts on display,” spokesman Martin Dams said in an emailed statement.

Dams said police believe the vandalism occurred on October 3rd, Germany Unity Day, during opening hours at the Pergamon Museum, Neues Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie.

He did not say why neither the museums nor the police had communicated earlier about the attack, which was first reported late Tuesday in German media.

Dams did not provide any information about a possible motive.

However a report by Die Zeit and public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk noted that Attila Hildmann, an activist who has railed against government measures to contain the coronavirus, had in August and September spread outlandish conspiracy theories about the Museum Island.

Using his Telegram channel, Hildmann claimed the Pergamon Museum, closed for part of the summer due to the pandemic, held the “throne of Satan”.

He said the institution was the centre of a “global satanist and corona criminal scene” where “they sacrifice humans at night and abuse children”, in an echo of the international QAnon conspiracy movement.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Museum Island has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1999. The Pergamon Museum celebrated its 90th birthday at the beginning of October. 

READ ALSO: 10 must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites in eastern Germany

The museum is named after its most famous attraction, the Pergamon Altar. It dates from the 2nd century B.C. and was part of the residence of the powerful kings of Pergamon, who created a cultural metropolis in the west of present-day Turkey based on the model of Athens.

Pergamon is one of Germany’s few museums attracts more than one million people every year – when it is not undergoing construction. 

The Island’s museums count almost 3.1 million visitors each year. They include the Bode Museum, Neues Museum with the famous Egyptian pharaoh bust of Nefertiti, and the James Simon Gallery – the most recent construction located between two arms of the Spree.

READ ALSO: €1 gold coin stolen from iconic Berlin museum

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