Italy arrests five in German Christmas market attack probe


Rome (AFP)

Italian police have arrested five people as part of an anti-terror raid linked to Tunisian Anis Amri who staged a deadly attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016, media reported Thursday.

Amri, a rejected asylum seeker, had rammed a stolen truck into the crowded square, killing 12 people and wounding about 100 others.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on December 19, 2016 -- its deadliest ever carried out in Germany. Amri, who had previously lived in Italy, was killed five days after the assault by police in a Milan suburb.

The five detained Thursday morning are accused of activities linked to "international terrorism" and procuring false documents for migrants, the Italian AGI news agency reported.

The suspects included a Tunisian national from the city of Latina, south of Rome, who had allegedly planned to provide Amri with fake identity papers to help him flee abroad, investigators told AGI.

The raids were carried out in several cities including Rome, Latina, and Naples.

In the aftermath of the Berlin attack, German police had faced fierce criticism when it emerged that Amri -- who had been in Germany since 2015 and was registered under several different identities -- should have been deported.