Police prevent suspected attack on half-marathon in berlin: police arrested six suspected islamists and searched several apartments in berlin on sunday.
Before the half-marathon, there were "isolated indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21, could have been involved in the preparation of a crime in connection with this event", the police declared. Because of these indications and the as yet incompletely clarified background to the munster shooting, the authorities decided to take action.
No concrete evidence
In the evening, the police stressed that they had no concrete evidence that the sporting event could have been the target of an attack. "There was no danger for the runners, participants and staff at any time", police spokesman thomas neuendorf told the german press agency. Police were "particularly attentive" in the run-up to the half marathon. The searches had been carried out on "people we consider to be in the islamist-terrorist field". The confiscated evidence, including cell phones and computers, was further evaluated.
The police announced on twitter that the state security had searched apartments and vehicles in the city together with the public prosecutor's office. The spokesman for the berlin public prosecutor's office, martin steltner, would not confirm on request that it could have been a planned terrorist attack. He also did not comment on a possible link between the suspects and the christmas market attack of anis amri. Because of the ongoing investigation, no further details could be given at this time, it said.
Connection to berlin bomber anis amri
The newspaper "the world had previously reported that police had thwarted an attack during the half-marathon, to which 36 people had been invited on sunday, according to the organizers.000 runners and 250.000 spectators had come to berlin's city center. Special forces had arrested four mannerists, including a prime suspect. According to the newspaper, he planned to kill spectators and participants of the sporting event with knives. The suspect is said to have belonged to the private circle of terrorist amri, who carried out the attack on the berlin christmas market at the end of 2016.
Berlin's mayor, michael muller (SPD), thanked the security forces – also in view of the rampage in munster "for their prudence and police work in preventing a further attack on the peaceful spectators enjoying the half-marathon". "Whether in munster, berlin or elsewhere – we will not allow our peaceful coexistence to be taken away from us", muller wrote on his facebook page.
The police union (gdp) expressed satisfaction with the security forces' actions. "It is reassuring that the berlin police apparently had these suspected dangers under surveillance in such a way that they were able to pull them out of circulation at any time", gdp chairman oliver malchow declared.
One of the apartments now searched in the west of the city had been reported to the "welt" also searched after the attack on the berlin christmas market at the end of 2016. In the cellar of the apartment of a suspected accomplice of the main suspect who was overpowered on sunday, dogs specially trained for explosives attacked the suspect. Police tweeted this evening that no explosives had been found during the searches.
The newspaper quoted a "senior police officer" as saying this, according to which there was no concrete danger because the man had been observed by the security forces for a long time.
According to the "tagesspiegel-according to information, the main suspect had previously been under permanent surveillance for two weeks. He was known to the authorities from the investigation into the amri attack in berlin, the newspaper quoted security sources as saying. Most recently, there was apparently a tip-off from a foreign intelligence service that the man was planning an attack on the half-marathon. That is why the security forces had intervened on sunday.
After the rampage in munster, it was initially feared that it might be a terrorist attack. Already on saturday evening, however, it was announced that the attack had no terrorist or islamist background. The perpetrator was a german, according to dpa information possibly a mentally unstable single perpetrator.
Berlin's interior senator andreas geisel (SPD) had announced on saturday, immediately after the munster rampage, that the police had once again increased the already "extremely high security precautions" will be investigated for the half marathon.
According to the organizers, the half-marathon ended without any unusual incidents on the course. "We carried out a normal race", said a spokesman for SCC events on sunday the german press agency. "From the participant's side everything went well."