Berlin did or did not escape Sunday an attack? the police in any case arrested six people suspected of planning a “violent act” during the half marathon, followed by 250,000 people in the German capital.
“Before the Berlin Half Marathon, we had some indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21, could be involved in preparations for a violent act in connection with this demonstration,” the statement said. police and the public prosecutor’s office in a statement.
Several homes were searched and various objects and vehicles seized. The half-marathon, which was attended by about 36,000 runners and was attended by another 250,000 people in the city center, was uneventful.
Arrests have also been ordered, according to the police, because of the tense security situation in Germany, following the tragedy that occurred the previous day in Münster, in the north-west of the country, where a 48-year-old man has attacked clients of a coffee shop with a van. This attack was unrelated to Islamist terrorism, according to the authorities.
As a result, the police measures had been reinforced for the race.
The authorities did not give further details. Police and parquet refused to confirm that it was a project of attack.
But Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, on his Facebook page, thanked the security services of his city “for having thanks to their vigilance and their police work could prevent an attack that threatened against the peaceful spectators of the half marathon”.
The daily Die Welt and Tagesspiegel state that the authorities have foiled a planned attack. The warnings came in particular from a “foreign secret service”.
Die Welt talks about an attack project with two knives specially sharpened against spectators and runners. But a source close to the investigation has denied this assumption to AFP.
“We had information that these people may be preparing something, but we do not know yet what,” said a spokesman for the police.
Investigators hope to learn more by exploiting the hard drives of computers and mobile phones seized at the homes of suspects.
Close to Amri?
According to several media, the main one is a close friend of the Tunisian Anis Amri, author of the bombing of the ram truck on a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, which had killed twelve people.
The man had been under close surveillance for a while now from the security services, according to newspapers.
While the exact reasons for these arrests in Berlin are still unclear, they come as the authorities have been on the alert for two years because of several Islamist attacks perpetrated or planned in the country.
At the end of July 2017, an asylum seeker who was about to be dismissed stabbed one person in a supermarket and wounded six others, an act justified in justice by “radical Islamism”.
And at the end of October, the German police arrested a 19-year-old Syrian suspected of planning a “serious attack” on the bomb.
Potentially violent Islamist movements have experienced a boom in the country in the last two years. Internal intelligence estimates that about 10,000 radical Islamists in Germany, including 1,600 suspected of being able to turn violent.
Most of the attacks or terrorist attacks have so far been the work of asylum seekers. This is regularly worthy of Chancellor Angela Merkel vivid criticism for having opened in 2015 and 2016 the doors of Germany to over a million of them.