Tunisia’s Interior Ministry says police have arrested the nephew of Berlin terror attack suspect Anis Amri and two others suspected of belonging to the same extremist network.
In a statement, the ministry said Saturday that Amri had sent his 18-year-old nephew Fedi money to join him in Europe.
The Tunisian-born Amri is suspected of commandeering a truck and driving it into a Christmas market crowd in Berlin on Monday, killing 12 people and injuring 48. Amri was killed in Milan Friday after he apparently opened fire on police who had asked him for his identification papers.
It is unclear whether the suspects in Tunisia helped Amri flee Berlin. A statement said that the three suspects were members of a “terrorist cell” that was “connected” to Amri, Agence France Presse reports. The three were described as between 18 and 27 years old, Radio Mosaic FM Tunisia reports, quoting the ministry.
Radio Mosaic, quoting the ministry, reports that the nephew told police he had communicated with his uncle via the Telegram app, which sends encrypted messages, to avoid security surveillance, The nephew also said, according to Radio Mosaic, that Amri had asked him to swear allegiance to Islamic State.
The nephew was arrested in Amri’s hometown of Oueslatia while the others were arrested in Tunis, the ministry said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. The arrests occurred late Friday or Saturday.
Amri, 24, spent time in jail for theft and vandalism. His German asylum application was rejected because authorities feared he had become radicalized. He avoided deportation because of a bureaucratic mix-up, and he had been under surveillance as a potential terrorist but had not done anything to justify his arrest earlier.
After Amri was killed, the Islamic State’s Amaq news agency released a video that showed Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group before the truck rampage through a Christmas market, the terrorist monitoring group SITE reported. “God willing, we will slaughter you like pigs,” he said in the video,
German and Italian media reported that Amri left Tunisia in 2011 after the Arab Spring uprising there and traveled to Italy on a boat with other migrants. He lived in Catania, Sicily and pretended to be a minor at age 19, La Stampa reported.
He served four years in jail in Italy for trying to set fire to his school, according to the reports. After completing his sentence, Amri could not be deported because Tunisia did not recognize him as a citizen, so he moved to Germany, Italian media said.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/2iqxO6X