Marseille attacker's brother, sister held in Tunisia

2017-10-10 14:48
A woman writes a message of condolence next to a portrait of one of the victims. (AFP)

A woman writes a message of condolence next to a portrait of one of the victims. (AFP)

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Tunis - A brother and sister of Ahmed Hanachi, who stabbed two young women to death in the French city of Marseille this month, have been detained in Tunisia, authorities said on Monday.

The two were detained on Friday and have been questioned by anti-terror investigators, prosecution spokesperson Sofiene Sliti said.

"They appeared before an investigating judge... who decided to transfer the case to the national guard" in Aouina, northeastern Tunis, he said.

A source close to the family named the siblings as Moez and Amina Hanachi, who both live in Tunisia.

Their brother Ahmed Hanachi, 29, attacked two women at Marseille's Saint-Charles train station on October 1 before being shot dead by troops.

He had lived for several years in Aprilia, south of Rome, where he married an Italian woman.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for Hanachi's attack, but French investigators have not yet found evidence linking it to the jihadist organisation.

Drugs

Another of Hanachi's brothers, Anis, was arrested on Saturday night in Italy after French authorities issued an international arrest warrant.

French investigators, who suspect Anis of complicity in his brother's attack, said he had "fought, waged jihad in Syrian-Iraqi territory, with military experience", Lamberto Giannini, head of Italy's counterterrorism team, said on Monday.

Ahmed, the second-youngest of five siblings, was not known to attend any mosque, but was known to the police for drug and alcohol problems.

His family said two of his brothers, Anis and Anouar, were living illegally in Europe.

Two Tunisian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ahmed and Anouar were suspected of being "extremists".

But their father Noureddine told AFP he struggled to believe Ahmed had been radicalised but that his son "may have been under the influence of drugs" when he carried out the attack.

He said he had heard no news from his sons in Europe for two months.

Read more on:    france  |  tunisia  |  north africa

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