The video ISIS released after the Berlin truck terrorist Anis Amri was shot dead in Milan early Friday, Dec. 23, shows him swearing allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad. He then says: "I call on my Muslim brothers everywhere… Those in Europe, kill the crusader pigs, each person to their own ability." Turning to camera, the 24-year old Tunisian added: “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.”
Amri was the prime suspect for the truck rampage in a Berlin open-air market Monday that murdered 12 people, including an Israeli woman Dalia Elkayam and injured 48 others – one of them her husband.
Early Friday, amid a massive manhunt for the fugitive suspect across Europe, two Italian police officers in Milan encountered him and, when he was asked for documents, pulled out a pistol and shot one of the policemen, who responded by shooting him dead..
debkafile’s counterterrorism sources report that Christmas Eve 2016 finds the continent of Europe on high terror alert for further acts of Islamist violence. Anis Amri’s call broadcast by ISIS for more terrorist attacks against the “crusader pigs” may well inspire other radical Muslims to emulate him.
He is presumed by Western intelligence and security services not to have acted alone in the Berlin outrage. It is feared that the network behind him will do its utmost to continue to terrorize Europe.
Although the Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti assured the media Friday morning that the man killed earlier in Milan was “without a shadow of doubt Anis Amri,” German officials took several hours to confirm his death.
debkafile carried this report earlier:
On Thursday, December 22, three days after the truck attack in the center of Berlin, Germany’s seven intelligence and security services, along with the Berlin police and national police, were still unsure of the identities of the terrorists who killed 12 people and injured 48. This was even after a fingerprint in the death truck was reported to have matched those of the fugitive 23-year old Tunisian, Anis Amri.
Named the prime suspect, a 100,000-euro reward has been offered for information leading to his capture, making him Europe’s most wanted man.
The stolen truck’s driver, Polish citizen Lukasz Urban, who would have been the only person to identify the terrorists, was found dead of stabbing and gunshot wounds.
Nothing about the way the ramming attack on the Christmas market was carried out points to a spontaneous or freelance outrage springing for the mind of a lone individual. A gang of terrorists must have carried out the hijacking of the semi-trailer in Berlin at the destination for its iron shipment in a busy industrial district northwest of the center in the quiet afternoon hours. It would have been an easy place for their terrorists to snatch their latest weapon of multiple death before driving it to the Christmas market.
The truck driver put up a fight before he was murdered, but strangely enough, no one noticed. He had just informed the company that employed him that he had arrived at the factory entrance after 3:00pm – too late to make the delivery – and was told to return the next morning.
When the company called him back a short time later, there was no answer.
There is no record for the hours between the hijacking and the moment that the truck ploughed into the crowds buying gifts for the festival at one of Berlin’s open-air markets.
Shortly before 8pm, about 30 minutes before the attack, the truck’s GPS device tracked the vehicle moving erratically and traveling in circles. The Polish owners suspected that the truck had been stolen and was being driven by someone other than Urban.
The terrorists then had a little more than five hours to wait until the evening. During that time they practiced driving the truck round to learn how to use it.
debkafile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources report that German intelligence services already understand that the market outrage was the work of an experienced terror network, more sophisticated than previous truck attacks, such as the one in the French Riviera city of Nice in July, whose perpetrator was intent on suicide after murdering 86 people.
Shortly before slamming into the market, they disconnected part of the vehicle’s electrical systems, including the headlights, and disabled the GPS transmitter. The person or persons in the cab of Urban’s truck snuck away and vanished like ghosts. Nobody saw them. The network members were clearly familiar with Berlin’s main roads, crowded public areas, busiest hours and Christmas shopping centers. Unlike former attacks in Paris and Brussels, they planned the assault down to the smallest details, including their getaway and survival.
Even if 23-year-old Anis Amri was at the wheel of the deadly truck, he is likely to have made good his escape by now across Europe’s open borders, possibly planting false leads behind him. He may even be a useful decoy to throw German and European security services off the scent the network – hence the fingerprint in the cab – while he and his accomplices set up their next terrorist assault.