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Tunisia Arrests Nephew, 2 Others Connected to Slain Suspected Berlin Attacker

By VOA News December 24, 2016

Authorities in Tunisia have arrested the nephew of suspected Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri, along with two other Islamist militant suspects said to be "connected" to Amri, the interior ministry said Saturday.

The three suspects are said to be members of a "terrorist cell... connected to the terrorist Anis Amri who carried out the terrorist attack in Berlin," read the statement. They were arrested on Friday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took to the streets Saturday holding an anti-extremism rally in the capital city of Tunis. About 200 people took part and exhorted the government to bring home all Tunisian nationals living abroad who have links to extremist organizations, so they could face trial in their home country.

The rally gathered outside the Bardo Museum, where an extremist attack took place last year that was claimed by the Islamic State group. Gunmen killed 22 people in the March 2015 attack – including 21 foreign tourists and a Tunisian policeman.

Germany search continues

The arrests in Tunisia come as Germany continues to search for possible accomplices of the suspected Berlin truck attacker, a day after he was killed in a shoot-out Friday with Italian police in Milan.

As most of the country was preparing Saturday to celebrate Christmas Eve, German authorities said hundreds of investigators will be working on the probe throughout the holiday season.

Speaking to reporters Friday in Berlin, Chief Federal Prosecutor Peter Frank said Investigators are trying to determine if 24-year-old Tunisian Anis Amri received help from a network of supporters.

Frank said fingerprints confirmed Amri carried out the attack that killed 12 people and wounded 56 others last Monday. He said, though, the investigation is far from over.

"It's very important for us now to find out whether there was a network of supporters and accomplices, whether there were confidants who helped the sought person to prepare and conduct the attack and to escape," said Frank.

Seeking conspirators

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the investigation would focus on possible conspirators.

Amri is believed to have hijacked a truck and used it to mow down holiday revelers at a Berlin Christmas market in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

An IS-linked video released Friday purportedly showed Amri calling for more attacks in Europe.

The video released by Amaq, the news agency linked to IS, has not been independently authenticated, but material previously released by Amaq has been credible.

Earlier Friday, German police arrested two brothers from Kosovo suspected of planning an attack on a shopping mall in Oberhausen, in the West German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

It was not clear if the men were connected with the Berlin attack.

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