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DORTMUND (Reuters) - German police expressed relief on Friday following the arrest of a 19-year-old suspected of murdering his nine-year-old neighbour and bragging about it on the "dark web", a hidden zone of the web often used for criminal activity.

A large-scale manhunt was launched on Monday after police found a body in the basement of a home in Herne, an industrial city in North Rhine-Westphalia. Police arrested the suspect on Thursday.

"I cannot tell you how relieved we all are that in Herne (that) yesterday night, what many regard as an unusual, dangerous, brutal perpetrator was successfully arrested," said Gregor Lange, police president for the nearby city of Dortmund.

The dark web, only accessible via special web browsers, is increasingly used to trade drugs, weapons and counterfeit money, allowing users to trade anonymously and pay with digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

Last year, a German teenager killed nine people at a mall in Munich with a pistol he purchased on the dark web.

(Writing by Maytaal Angel; Editing by Patrick Johnston)

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