Berlin truck attack suspect Anis Amri has reportedly been shot dead in Milan.
There has been a four-day Europe-wide manhunt for Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian national who is believed to have driven a large truck laden with steel into a Berlin Christmas market late Monday, killing 12 people and injuring 48.
Amri reportedly spent several years in Italy before entering Germany in July 2015.
Amri was reportedly stopped overnight Friday as part of a routine police control.
When asked to show his documents, he pulled a gun and shot a police officer in the shoulder. Police then returned fire and shot him dead.
“The investigations are ongoing – we are in contact with the Italian security authorities,” a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor’s office said without giving further details.
German authorities had believed that Amri was unlikely to have fled beyond Berlin after the attack, and carried out several raids across the city.
Amri was among migrants from Tunisia
On Thursday and Friday, police searched a mosque in Berlin’s Moabit district where Amri was reportedly sighted several days before and immediately after the attack.
Amri arrived in Italy in February 2011, among thousands of migrants from Tunisia who crossed the Mediterranean in the wake of the Arab Spring.
He spent several months in a youth centre near the Sicilian city of Catania.
On October 23, 2011, Amri was arrested on suspicion of arson, assault, intimidation and embezzlement, and was later sentenced to four years in prison, during which he was detained in six different Sicilian facilities.
As a detainee, he was reported 12 times for violent or unruly behaviour, which was the cause of his frequent prison transfers, but did not display any signs of radicalisation, according to judicial documents.
On May 18, 2015, Amri was released from Palermo’s Ucciardone prison, but remained under custody in a migrant detention centre after being issued with a repatriation order.
The order could not be executed because Tunisian authorities did not respond in time to requests for his identification. He was eventually let go and given orders to leave Italy of his own accord.
Two months later he entered Germany via the south-western city of Freiburg, which is close to the Swiss and French borders, according to local authorities.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in which the truck smashed through wooden huts selling gifts, mulled wine and sausages.
It was the deadliest attack on German soil since 1980.
The Berlin market reopened on Thursday ringed by concrete bollards.
Bild newspaper cited an anti-terrorism investigator as saying that it was clear in spring that Amri was looking for accomplices for an attack and was interested in weapons.
The report said preliminary proceedings had been opened against Amri in March based on information he was planning a robbery to get money to buy automatic weapons and “possibly carry out an attack with them and other accomplices”.
In mid-2016, he spoke to two IS fighters, and Tunisian authorities listened in on their conversation before informing German authorities.
Amri also offered himself as a suicide attacker on known Islamist chat sites, Bild said.
Police started looking for the Tunisian after finding an identity document under the driver’s seat of the truck used in the attack.