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Monday, July 6, 1998 Published at 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK

World: Europe

Gendarme attack suspect arrested

Police deal with a fan during the Lens disturbances

German police have arrested a football fan suspected of taking part in an attack outside a World Cup stadium which left a French gendarme in a coma.

The 24-year-old man was arrested at his home in Hamburg by prosecutors.

The man, who has not been identified, is accused of attempted murder and causing serious injury to Daniel Nivel.

[ image: Nivel: In a coma after the attack by German hooligans]
Nivel: In a coma after the attack by German hooligans
Mr Nivel, a father-of-two, has been in a coma since the attack on June 21 by a gang of hooligans in Lens for Germany's group match against Yugoslavia.

He received massive head injuries after being repeatedly hit with a weapon, believed to be a metal or wooden signpost.

Investigators are questioning the arrested man. They say he has admitted being close to the scene of the attack but denies being involved.

A prosecutor's statement said: "He is heavily implicated by witnesses and photographs of the crime."

Two other Germans, Markus Warneke of Hanover and Karl-Heinz Eschner of Braunschweig, have been detained in France and charged with taking part in the assault.

German police had previously questioned two men, including one in Hamburg, about the attack.

They were released because there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

The prosecutors did not reveal whether the Hamburg man arrested on Monday is the suspect they previously questioned.

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