Italy expels Tunisian linked to deadly 2016 Berlin Christmas market attack

Police search the surroundings of a truck which ran into a crowded Christmas market the evening before and killed several people in Berlin, Germany, early on December 20, 2017. (AP)

Italy’s interior ministry said on Saturday it had expelled a Tunisian national linked to the man who carried out a deadly 2016 attack on a Berlin Christmas market.

Montassar Yaakoubi, described by the ministry as “an associate of the Tunisian terrorist Anis Amri,” was flown to Tunisia on a special flight, the ministry said in a statement, without specifying when.

It was Italy’s first such expulsion of a foreign national on state security grounds since such repatriations were suspended due to the coronavirus emergency, it said.

Yaakoubi hosted Amri in Italy before the latter’s move to Germany in 2015, the ministry said.

On December 19, 2016, Amri -- a rejected asylum seeker from Tunisia and known radical militant -- hijacked a truck, ploughing into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin and killing 12 people.

Amri, 24, managed to flee Germany after the attack but was shot in Milan by police four days later.

In the past five years, Italy has expelled 482 foreign nationals on security grounds, including 21 in 2020.

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Last Update: Monday, 08 June 2020 KSA 01:26 - GMT 22:26