(Adds more details from report, ministry check)
ALGIERS Dec 21 A Tunisian man suspected in the
Berlin Christmas market attack left Tunisia seven years ago as
an illegal immigrant and spent time in prison in Italy, his
father and security sources told Tunisia's Radio Mosaique on
The radio reported on its website that security sources had
named the suspect as Anis Amri from Oueslatia in rural central
Tunisia. He served four years in jail in Italy on accusations of
burning down a school, it said. The father told the radio
station that his son had left for Germany a year ago.
A Tunisian interior ministry spokesman did not immediately
return a call seeking confirmation of the radio report.
German authorities began looking for a Tunisian asylum
seeker as a suspect after finding an identity document under the
driver's seat of the truck that ploughed into a Berlin Christmas
market in the deadliest attack on German soil since 1980. Twelve
people were killed.
Mosaique said the suspect had also been accused of violent
robbery in Tunisia. Amri, 24, had contact with his brothers, but
not his father, it said. Authorities were questioning the father
about possible links to Islamic State, the radio said, citing
Oueslatia, near the historic religious city of Kairoaun, is
like many marginalised, rural Tunisian towns where unemployment
is high and opportunities scarce for young men. Several families
there have lost sons who joined jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria
More than 4,000 Tunisians have left to join Islamic State
and other militant groups overseas, recruited by hardline
preachers or online networks. Tunisia was hit last year by three
major militant attacks, two targeting foreign tourists, by
gunmen who spent time in jihadist camps overseas.
(Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Ralph Boulton)