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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy has expelled a Tunisian who may have had links with the man who killed 12 people in Berlin when he plowed a truck through a busy Christmas market, the Italian interior ministry said on Sunday.

The Tunisian, a resident of Latina near Rome, was identified in investigations launched in the wake of the Dec. 19 Berlin attack, the ministry said in a statement.The 37-year old man was the owner of a telephone whose number was found among the contacts of Anis Amri, it said.

Amri killed 12 people when he plowed a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin. He was killed in a shootout with police near Milan on Dec. 23.

Amri came to Italy by boat in 2011 and spent almost four years in jail there before being ordered out of the country in 2015.

The expelled Tunisian's phone number was also linked to a Facebook profile pointing to his support of jihadist ideology and connections with people supporting Islamic State, the ministry said.

The ministry said Italy had expelled 153 people suspected of religious extremism since January 2015.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Mark Potter)

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