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Italy strengthens ties with Tunisia after Berlin attack

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Italy strengthens ties with Tunisia after Berlin attack
Police and forensics experts at the scene of the Berlin attack. Photo: AFP
17:25 CET+01:00
Italy's foreign minister pledged on Thursday to strengthen cooperation with Tunisia to combat illegal migration and "terrorism", a month after a Tunisian failed asylum seeker allegedly killed 12 people in Berlin.

Angelino Alfano, on a one-day visit to Tunis, met with his counterpart Khemaies Jhinaoui and President Beji Caid Essebsi and promised closer relations between the two Mediterranean nations

"We plan to reinforce our ties," Alfano said following his meeting with Essebsi.

"We share the same concerns on important issues such as terrorism and immigration."

Alfano said last week that Italy needed to "speed up deportations" of asylum seekers whose requests had been rejected.

Tunisian Anis Amri, 24, is believed to have hijacked a truck and used it to mow down revellers at a Berlin Christmas market on December 19th.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group and prompted calls for security reforms and EU pressure on countries that refuse to take back citizens who have been denied asylum.

Amri, who was reportedly denied asylum in Germany, was shot dead after firing at two Italian policemen who had stopped him for a routine identity check near Milan's Sesto San Giovanni railway station on December 23rd.

READ MORE: What was the Berlin attack suspect doing in Milan?

Tunisian Anis Amri had arrived in Italy by boat in 2011. He spent time in a detention centre and several prisons in Sicily for violent behaviour after Italy tried but failed to deport him back to Tunisia, and was finally ordered to leave the country in 2015.

Tunisia later arrested four people including Amri's cousin but authorities
said they were not linked to the Berlin attack.

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