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Six held over Berlin half-marathon terror attack plot

By Kirsten Grieshaber

Six people have been detained in connection with what police and prosecutors allege was a plan to carry out an extremist attack on Berlin's half-marathon, German authorities said.

"There were isolated indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21 years, were participating in the preparation of a crime in connection with this event," prosecutors and police wrote in a joint statement.

Berlin police tweeted that six people were detained in co-operation with the city's prosecutor's office.

The German daily Die Welt first reported that police foiled a plot to attack race spectators and participants with knives.

The main suspect allegedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, Die Welt reported.

One of the apartments Berlin police raided before the race started on Sunday was also searched after the Christmas market attack, the newspaper said.

Special police forces detained four men in connection with the race plot, the paper said - different from the six that police reported.

Die Welt reported that the main suspect, who was not identified, had prepared two knives to use in the attack.

It also wrote that in one of the searched apartments, dogs trained to find explosives barked when they were taken into the dwelling's basement.

The local daily Tagesspiegel reported that the main suspect had been under observation for two weeks around the clock.

After a foreign intelligence service tipped off German authorities that he was planning to attack the half-marathon, police raided apartments and two vehicles in the Charlottenburg and Neukoelln districts of the city.

The news came 48 hours after a separate incident in which a man drove a van into a crowd in the German city of Munster.

The suspect was well-known to police and had a history of run-ins with the law, German prosecutors said, adding that they believe he acted alone.

The 48-year-old, whose name was not released, killed two people and injured 20 others on Saturday afternoon outside a bar in the city's old town before shooting himself dead inside the van.

He was a Munster resident and apparently well off.

"We have no indications that there is a political background or that others were involved," prosecutor Elke Adomeit told reporters. "But he was well known to the police."

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