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Berlin Attack Suspect Killed In Milan, Italian Police Say

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We now know the ending for Anis Amri. Police say the suspect in the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market the other day fled to France, then to Italy, where police killed him today. It happened in Milan. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is covering this story from Rome. Sylvia, how'd they find him?

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: Well, apparently, it was just in a routine police check in a - 3 a.m. in a suburb of Milan. A two-man patrol stopped a man they said that was walking. They thought he looked suspicious. And as soon as he was asked for his identification papers, he pulled a gun out of his backpack and fired at them. He wounded one of them in the shoulder the other policemen fired back and killed him.

INSKEEP: Why would he have been in Italy, do you think?

POGGIOLI: Well, we don't know. It's true that he originally arrived in Europe in Italy. He was one of the boat people arriving in 2011 from Tunisia and - right after the time of the Arab Spring. And he then spent two - four years in an Italian jail for vandalism. And shortly after he was released from jail, he was supposed to be deported. But given all the bureaucratic difficulties, Tunisia didn't come through with the papers. He had to be released after two months. And we understand that he went on to Germany. What he was doing in Italy now we don't know.

INSKEEP: Now, let's remember this is an attack that killed a dozen people. German authorities arrested someone shortly afterward, then had to release the guy. They had the wrong man. Is there any doubt about whether this person who was killed in Milan, Italy is the right person?

POGGIOLI: Not according to the Italian interior minister, who said the checks conducted after the shootout showed that he is that person. He is the Berlin suspect. And those controls, apparently, were fingerprints and computer scans of his photographs. And some police sources are saying that even the gun he used in Milan is the same gun used in Berlin to shoot the Polish truck driver during the attack.

INSKEEP: OK. Sylvia, thanks as always. Really appreciate it.

POGGIOLI: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Sylvia Poggioli in Rome. Italian authorities say that police found and killed the suspect in the Berlin Christmas-market bombing.

POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: At the end of this conversation, this week's attack on a Christmas market in Berlin is referred to as a "bombing." In fact, as is said several times during the report, it was a "truck attack." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: December 23, 2016 at 12:00 AM EST
At the end of this conversation, this week's attack on a Christmas market in Berlin is referred to as a bombing. In fact, as is said several times during the report, it was a truck attack.