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ISIS Suspect Held in Germany Linked to 2015 Tunis Museum Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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German police officers stand guard during a raid in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A Tunisian man arrested in Germany on Wednesday on suspicion of recruiting for ISIS is also accused of involvement in the 2015 attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis that left 21 foreign tourists and a police officer dead, German prosecutors said.

The 36-year-old, whom authorities didn’t identify, is wanted by Tunisian authorities on suspicion of “participating in planning and carrying out” the Bardo attack during which two gunmen opened fire at the museum.

He is also accused of involvement in the deadly jihadist assault on the border town of Ben Guerdane last March, the prosecutor’s office in the western state of Hesse said in a statement.

That attack saw dozens of heavily armed jihadists cross into the frontier town from Libya to launch coordinated assaults on police and army posts, killing seven civilians and 13 security personnel.

Tunisian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in June 2016, the prosecutor’s office added.

The suspect was taken into custody early Wednesday as police carried out sweeping anti-terror raids in Frankfurt and nearby towns.

The raids, which followed a four-month probe, covered 54 apartments and other premises.

“He did not offer any resistance,” Alexander Badle, a spokesman for the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, told reporters.

In Germany, the Tunisian national is suspected of being a recruiter for ISIS and building a network of supporters to carry out an attack in the country, Badle said.

Plans for the attack were still “at a very early stage” and no specific target had been chosen, he stated. “There was no concrete danger of an attack.”

The suspect arrived in Germany as an asylum seeker in August 2015, the prosecutors said, after already living in the country for a decade some years earlier.

He was arrested the following August on an outstanding 2008 conviction for causing bodily harm.
After serving a 43-day sentence, he was kept in detention awaiting deportation to Tunisia before the authorities were forced to release him again.

“As the Tunisian authorities, despite repeated reminders from the German authorities, failed to supply the necessary deportation documents within the 40-day period, the suspect was released on November 4, 2016,” the statement said.

He was kept under surveillance from the day of his release until his arrest on Wednesday, it added.

In a separate case, prosecutors in Berlin said that they arrested three people Tuesday night suspected of planning to travel to Syria or Iraq to undergo explosives and weapons training with ISIS.