Police say 6 detained in foiled plot to attack Berlin half-marathon
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Police say 6 detained in foiled plot to attack Berlin half-marathon

Main suspect allegedly knew Anis Amri, the Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in 2016

The Berlin half-marathon, 2017. (YouTube screenshot)
The Berlin half-marathon, 2017. (YouTube screenshot)

BERLIN, Germany (AP) — Six people were detained in connection with what police and prosecutors allege was a plan to carry out an attack against Berlin’s half-marathon on Sunday, German authorities said.

“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.

Berlin police tweeted that six people were detained in cooperation with the city’s prosecutor’s office.

The German daily Die Welt first reported that police foiled a plot to attack race spectators and participants with knives.

The main suspect allegedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, Die Welt reported.

People leave candles and flowers at a memorial for the victims of the 2016 deadly truck attack at the Christmas market at Breitscheidplatz in front of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche, during the commemorations marking the one-year anniversary, on December 19, 2017, in Berlin. (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)

One of the apartments Berlin police raided before the race started on Sunday was also searched after the Christmas market attack, the newspaper said.

Special police forces detained four men in connection with the race plot, the paper said — different from the six that police reported.

Die Welt reported that the main suspect, who was not identified, had prepared two knives to use in the attack. It also wrote that in one of the searched apartments, dogs trained to find explosives barked when they were taken into the dwelling’s basement.

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

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