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Monday, 22 April, 2002, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Tunisia says Djerba blast was deliberate
Mr Schily tours the scene of the blast
Schily: The meeting revealed some "interesting details"
Tunisia has confirmed that an explosion which killed at least 16 people, including 11 German tourists, was deliberate.

An official statement said the driver of a fuel lorry which blew up outside the Ghriba synagogue on the resort island of Djerba was responsible.

It was "a premeditated crime perpetrated by a Tunisian, Nizar Ben Mohamed Nasr Nawar, with the aid of one of his relatives resident in Tunisia," the statement read.

Nawar, a 24-year-old resident of the French city of Lyon, is believed to have died in the blast.

The announcement came after a meeting between German Interior Minister Otto Schily and Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Mr Schily said that the two countries were now "100% sure it was a terrorist crime".

Having initially said the attack was an accident, Tunisia last week acknowledged that the 11 April blast may have been intentional.

Al-Qaeda claim

Mr Schily said he learned some "extremely interesting details" during his meeting with Mr Ben Ali.

The nature of the explosion, the type of fuel and the way the tanks were mounted on the lorry had all combined to convince investigators that the attack was deliberate, he said.

Map of Tunisia showing Djerba
German ministers have said there is evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the attack, but Mr Schily said it was too soon to link it Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network.

"For the time being, we can't say it was al-Qaeda," he said.

The London-based Arab newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, has published a letter purporting to be from al-Qaeda, saying it had attacked the synagogue.

And French police sources have said that the writer's name matches that of the truck's driver, who also died in the blast.

Earlier in his trip, Mr Schily visited the scene of the explosion, laying flowers and observing a two-minute silence in memory of the victims.

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Middle East
Al-Qaeda suspected over Tunisia blast
16 Apr 02 | Middle East
Man freed in Tunisia blast probe
13 Apr 02 | Middle East
Tunisia blast claims more lives
13 Apr 02 | Middle East
Tunisia blast was attack, says Germany
12 Apr 02 | Middle East
Mystery surrounds synagogue blast
11 Apr 02 | Middle East
Blast at Tunisian synagogue kills five
26 Feb 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Tunisia
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