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Investigation of Tunisia Synagogue Blast Continues

Investigation of Tunisia Synagogue Blast Continues
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's interior minister will travel to Tunisia this weekend to visit a synagogue where a blast last week killed 16 people, mostly German tourists, amid investigations into whether the explosion was an attack.

Interior Minister Otto Schily will visit the North African country Sunday and Monday, his spokesman, Rainer Lingenthal, said Friday. German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm and other top law enforcement officials will be with him.

Prosecutors in Germany have said there are growing indications that the blast April 11 at the Ghriba synagogue on the resort island of Djerba was a terrorist operation. Schily has raised the possibility al-Qaida was behind the attack.

Initially, Tunisia's government described the synagogue blast as a ``tragic accident'' but acknowledged this week that investigators were pursuing other leads. Eleven of the dead were Germans.

Federal prosecutors this week detained a man in Germany who allegedly received a phone call shortly before the blast from the suspected attacker, the driver of the truck that exploded outside the synagogue. The German suspect was freed Tuesday after prosecutors said they lacked sufficient evidence to hold him.

A German newspaper reported that the driver of the gas-laden truck telephoned a contact in Germany shortly before the blast urging him to ``pray for me.'' German officials refused to comment on the report in Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The driver has been identified by the French government as Nizar Naouar, a 25-year-old Tunisian with family in Lyon, France.
 
 

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