Ger­man po­lice de­tain al­leged con­tact of mar­ket at­tacker

40-year-old Tu­nisian man may be in­volved

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BER­LIN: Ger­man pros­e­cu­tors said yes­ter­day that they have de­tained a Tu­nisian man they think may have been in­volved in last week’s truck at­tack on a Christ­mas mar­ket in Ber­lin. The 40year-old, who wasn’t iden­ti­fied, was de­tained in Ber­lin dur­ing a search of his home and busi­ness, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said.

The man’s tele­phone num­ber was saved in the cell­phone of Anis Amri, a fel­low Tu­nisian be­lieved to have driven a truck into the mar­ket on Dec 19. Amri, 24, was killed in a shootout with Ital­ian po­lice in a sub­urb of Mi­lan early Fri­day. Of the new sus­pect, pros­e­cu­tors said in a state­ment that “fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­di­cate that he may have been in­volved in the at­tack.”

Twelve peo­ple died in the truck at­tack and dozens more were in­jured. The Is­lamic State group has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity. Pros­e­cu­tors have un­til Thurs­day even­ing to de­ter­mine whether the case against the 40-year-old is strong enough for them to seek a for­mal ar­rest war­rant. That would al­low them to keep him in cus­tody pend­ing pos­si­ble charges.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to de­ter­mine whether Amri had a sup­port net­work in plan­ning and car­ry­ing out the at­tack, and in flee­ing Ber­lin. They’re also try­ing to piece to­gether the route he took from Ber­lin to Mi­lan. Ital­ian po­lice have said Amri trav­eled through France, and French au­thor­i­ties said on Tues­day that he made a stop in the east­ern French city of Lyon.

Yes­ter­day, Dutch au­thor­i­ties said they are check­ing to see if he fled first through the Nether­lands, Ger­many’s west­ern neigh­bor. “There are in­di­ca­tions that he did travel via the Nether­lands” on his way to Lyon, Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch na­tional pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice, said. De Bruin re­fused to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails.

How­ever, an Ital­ian anti-ter­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tor said the only ev­i­dence cur­rently link­ing Amri to the Nether­lands is a SIM card found in his pos­ses­sion af­ter he was killed. Ger­man au­thor­i­ties are work­ing on that strand of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the in­ves­ti­ga­tor said on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he was not au­tho­rized to speak about the probe on the record. Amri had no phone with him in Mi­lan, only the loose SIM card.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Amri also had a pocket knife and a few hun­dred eu­ros in cash in a back­pack that he was car­ry­ing when of­fi­cers on a rou­tine patrol stopped him to ask for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in the Mi­lan sub­urb of Sesto San Gio­vanni on Fri­day. He also car­ried a .22 pis­tol that he then used to shoot a po­lice of­fi­cer, hit­ting him in the shoul­der.

The Ital­ian in­ves­ti­ga­tor said the weapon ap­peared to be the same one used in Ger­many to kill the Pol­ish driver of the truck that was com­man­deered for the Christ­mas mar­ket at­tack, but that fi­nal bal­lis­tic tests were still be­ing car­ried out.

The body of the Pol­ish driver, Lukasz Ur­ban, was re­turned to Poland on Tues­day, said Al­doma Lema, a spokes­woman for pros­e­cu­tors in the Pol­ish city of Szczecin. There has been spec­u­la­tion over whether Ur­ban still was alive at the time of the at­tack and strug­gled with Amri. His body was found in the truck’s cab.

Ger­man daily Bild re­ported Tues­day, with­out cit­ing sources, that au­topsy re­sults showed Ur­ban was shot in the head sev­eral hours be­fore the at­tack and would have been dead or un­con­scious by that time. Lema said she could not give the time of his death. Another au­topsy was per­formed in Poland on Wed­nes­day and pre­lim­i­nary find­ings won’t be known for three weeks, she said. — AP

NIKIMEGEN: Peo­ple walk in front of the Ni­jmegen rail­way sta­tion in Ni­jmegen, The Nether­lands. — AFP

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