German prosecutors have detained a Tunisian man they suspect may have been involved in last week’s truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.
The 40-year-old, who was not identified, was held during a search of his home and business, federal prosecutors said.
The man’s telephone number was saved in the mobile phone of Anis Amri, a fellow Tunisian believed to have driven a truck into the market on 19 December. Amri, 24, was killed in a shootout with police in a suburb of Milan early on Friday.
Of the new suspect, prosecutors said “further investigations indicate that he may have been involved in the attack”.
Twelve people died in the truck attack. Islamic State has claimed responsibility, and released a video on Friday in which Amri is shown pledging allegiance to the Isis chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Prosecutors have until Thursday evening to determine whether the case against the 40-year-old is strong enough for them to seek a formal arrest warrant. That would allow them to keep him in custody pending possible charges.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Amri had a support network in planning and carrying out the attack, and in fleeing Berlin.
Tunisian authorities announced on Saturday that they had arrested Amri’s nephew and two other men suspected of being members of a “terrorist cell” connected to Amri, though they made no direct link to the Berlin attack.
Investigators are also trying to piece together the route he took to Milan.
Two days after the attack, Amri boarded an overnight bus in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, near the German border, that took him to Lyon in central France, a source close to the investigation said, confirming a French media report.
Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch public prosecution service, said: “We believe he was in Nijmegen, most likely last Wednesday.”
“There are video images and it’s very likely him,” De Bruin said, adding that “it’s most likely here where he received a sim card,” which Italian police later found on his body.
Amri got off the bus at the Lyon-Part-Dieu rail station, another source said. Surveillance cameras filmed Amri at the station last Thursday.
From there, he took a train to the French Alpine town of Chambéry before heading to Milan, in northern Italy. He then made his way to the suburb of Sesto San Giovanni, where he was shot dead by police after opening fire on them during a routine identity check.
A train ticket from Lyon to Milan via Turin was found on his body.
Investigators are still trying to determine how Amri was able to leave Berlin and traverse most of Germany to reach the Netherlands. – The Guardian