Six detained over suspected terror plot at Berlin half-marathon

Six people were detained yesterday for allegedly plotting an extremist attack on the Berlin Half-Marathon.

Local police said the men supposedly planned to brandish knives in crowds and slash spectators and participants around them, according to The Washington Post.

In a joint statement, prosecutors and police wrote: “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.”

Police reportedly had been tracking the main suspect for weeks when they discovered a plot to attack civilians at the half-marathon. Once suspicions were confirmed, the residences and vehicles of the suspects were raided and the arrests were made before the race had started. 

The German newspaper also reported that the main suspect was said to know Anis Amri, who killed 12 people and injured dozens by driving a truck into the Berlin Christmas market in December 2016.

A police spokesman said that there was no conclusive evidence the run had been the target of the attack, which saw a record number of 36,000 runners take part. Erick Kiptanui of Kenya won the race in a course-record 58 minutes and 42 seconds.

Berlin Mayor Michael Müller praised security forces for preventing an “impending attack with their vigilance and police work”. 

The police were already on high alert for the event. Two days prior, a man drove a truck on a crowded sidewalk, killing two people in a northern German city. There were 630 officers guarding the event, which went on without any incidents.

A version of this article appeared on runnersworld.com