Thursday 16 August 2018

Six held as police foil terror knife attack on Berlin race

'A record of 36,000 athletes entered the 38th edition of the Berlin half-marathon yesterday, the biggest in Germany.' (Stock picture)
'A record of 36,000 athletes entered the 38th edition of the Berlin half-marathon yesterday, the biggest in Germany.' (Stock picture)

Paul Carrel Berlin

At least six people have been arrested as German police said they had foiled a knife attack on Berlin's half-marathon race yesterday.

The suspects aged between 18 and 21 were detained after searches in the districts of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and Neukoelln in the capital.

German news site 'Die Welt' said at least one of the men held was planning knife attacks on runners and spectators.

The site said four of the men arrested were linked to Anis Amri, a Tunisian man with Islamist militant ties who killed 12 people in an attack in Berlin in December 2016 when he hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded marketplace.

The main suspect had in his possession two knives which had been especially sharpened for this purpose, the 'Die Welt' report said.

One of the apartments Berlin police raided before the race started was also searched after the Christmas market attack, it added.

A record of 36,000 athletes entered the 38th edition of the Berlin half-marathon yesterday, the biggest in Germany.

Tougher

Thousands of people lined Berlin streets to watch the event, which ended with no reported incidents.

Kenyan Erick Kiptanui clocked a course record of 58 minutes, 42 seconds, equalling the fastest time in the world this year, the race's organisers said on their website.

Amri's attack in Berlin in 2016 prompted German lawmakers to call for tougher security measures. No major Islamist militant attack has been carried out in Germany since.

Earlier yesterday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the government would do everything possible to protect citizens, but added: "We have again experienced that... absolute security is unfortunately not possible."

Irish Independent

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