December 24, 2016 / 1:37 PM / 9 months ago

Tunisian security forces arrest three for links to Berlin market attack suspect

Handout pictures released on December 21, 2016 and acquired from the web site of the German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) Federal Crime Office show suspect Anis Amri searched in relation with the Monday's truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. REUTERS/BKA/Handout via Reuters

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian security forces have arrested three suspected militants after uncovering their links to Anis Amri, the Tunisian national believed responsible for the Berlin Christmas market attack that killed 12 people, the interior ministry said on Saturday.

Amri’s nephew was among the three men and had been in touch by social media messaging with Amri, the ministry said. Amri was killed on Friday by Italian police after he pulled a gun on them during a routine search.

The three were between the ages of 18 and 27 and had been active around Amri’s hometown of Oueslatia, central Tunisia. The nephew had been communicating with Amri about declaring allegiance to Islamic State and had also sent him money using a false name, it said.

In Spain, intelligence services are investigating a possible connection via Internet between Amri and a Spanish resident on Dec. 19, Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido told radio station COPE on Saturday.

He said police and security forces were studying the information and deciding whether to make any arrests.

Amri, 24, is suspected of plowing a truck through the Berlin market on Monday. In a video released on Friday after his death, he is seen pledging his allegiance to militant group Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Reporting by Mohamed Agourby; Additional reporting by Sonya Dowsett in Madrid; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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