Transfers for Italian police who shot Berlin attacker

This file photo taken on Dec 20, 2016 shows firemen inspecting the truck that crashed the evening before into a Christmas market at Gedächtniskirche church in Berlin.
This file photo taken on Dec 20, 2016 shows firemen inspecting the truck that crashed the evening before into a Christmas market at Gedächtniskirche church in Berlin.PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - The two Italian policemen who became instant heroes after they stopped and killed the Berlin Christmas market attacker have been transferred to new posts, Italian media reported Sunday (Feb 5).

Italy's interior ministry has granted transfers from Milan in "recognition of an extraordinary act," reported RaiNews, quoting police sources while Corriere Della Sera described their destinations as "secret".

Luca Scata, a rookie officer aged 29, and fellow officer Christian Movio, 36, stopped 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri on Dec 23 in Milan, where he had fled after driving a truck into a Berlin crowd four days earlier, killing 12.

They approached Amri after seeing him loitering around Milan's Sesto San Giovanni railway station. After Amri fired at Movio, hitting in the shoulder, Scata shot him dead.

The officers were hailed nationwide for their actions, not least by the country's Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

But the praise began to evaporate after messages the pair had posted online surfaced, some racist in character and others suggesting support for Italy's fascist era of the 1930s and 1940s.

Scata published to Instagram pictures of former fascist leader Benito Mussolini and also a selfie showing him making a fascist-style salute, arm outstretched.

The men's social media profiles were removed and they both were placed under police surveillance amid fears for their safety.