German police 'foil extremist knife attack on Berlin half-marathon'

German police 'foil extremist knife attack on Berlin half-marathon'

German police have foiled a suspected planned extremist attack targeting the Berlin half-marathon.

Berlin police announced that ix people had been arrested in connection with the suspected attack due to take place during Sunday's race.

"There were isolated indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21 years, were participating in the preparation of a crime in connection with this event," prosecutors and police wrote in a joint statement.

One suspect plotting to stab runners and spectators at Sunday's race, the newspaper Die Welt reported.

Runners poured into the streets of Berlin (EPA)

The suspect was claimed to be in possession of two knives, the paper said.

Die Welt said the four suspects were linked to terrorist Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist ties.

Amri hijacked a truck in December 2016, killed the driver and then ploughed into a crowded marketplace, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.

Terrorist: Anis Amri

It was the last major Islamist terror attack on German soil and authorities promised a security crackdown in the wake of the atrocity.

The local daily Tagesspiegel reported that the main suspect had been under observation for two weeks around the clock.

After a foreign intelligence service tipped off German authorities that he was planning to attack the half-marathon, police raided apartments and two vehicles in the Charlottenburg and Neukoelln districts of the city. 

The half-marathon was being guarded by some 630 police officers, German news agency dpa reported. 

It came on a difficult weekend for Germany after two people were killed on Saturday when a van rammed into diners outside a pub in the town of Muenster.

The man, whose name has not been released but who according to reports had psychological problems, injured 20 others outside a bar in the city's old town before shooting himself to death in the van. 

The motive is not yet known, said police, while German public broadcaster ZDF suggested the man had links to the far-right although said he was not known to be a member of extremist group.

Armin Laschet, the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state where Muenster is located, said on Sunday: "This was a horrible and sad day for the people of Muenster, all of Germany ... and also the people of The Netherlands, who were sitting here and became victims."


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Publish date : 2018-04-08 16:03:25
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