Tunisian suspect in Berlin attack had been probed for plot - official

2016-12-21 18:28
A sign quoting John F Kennedy's sentence "I am a Berliner" lies amid candles at a makeshift memorial in Berlin. (Odd Andersen, AFP)

A sign quoting John F Kennedy's sentence "I am a Berliner" lies amid candles at a makeshift memorial in Berlin. (Odd Andersen, AFP)

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Düsseldorf - A Tunisian man wanted over this week's deadly Berlin Christmas market truck rampage had already been in the crosshairs of counter-terrorism officials over an attack plot, a regional minister said on Wednesday.

A probe had been launched against he man - named by media as Anis or Ahmed A. - suspecting he was preparing "a serious act of violence against the state," said Ralf Jäger, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state.

Counter-terrorism officials had exchanged information, most recently in November, about the man, who was known to have links to radical Islamists, Jäger told a press conference as police were searching for the man aged in his 20s.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had earlier said the suspect police were searching for was "a suspect but not necessarily the assailant" behind the bloody attack that killed 12 people on Monday.

Jäger said Germany had rejected in June an asylum request by the Tunisian man, who had first arrived in the country in July 2015, but was unable to deport him because he said he did not have travel documents.

Tunisia had initially denied that the man was one of its nationals and had long delayed sending new papers, which Jäger said were received only on Wednesday.

Read more on:    germany  |  tunisia  |  security
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