• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Paris attacker lived in German refugee shelter
French police near the Rue de la Goutte d'Or last week, after police shot a man dead as he was trying to enter a police station. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

Paris attacker lived in German refugee shelter

AFP · 10 Jan 2016, 11:43

Published: 10 Jan 2016 11:43 GMT+01:00

The individual was shot dead by French police on Thursday after he tried to storm a police station in northern Paris, brandishing a meat cleaver and wearing a fake suicide vest.

The assault took place exactly one year since the start of a series of jihadist attacks in France, marked by the killing of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on January 7 2015.

On Saturday, German investigators assisting the probe into the police-station attack raided an apartment at a shelter for asylum-seekers in Recklinghausen, in the west of the country.

Their statement gave no other details except to say no indications were found that other attacks had been planned.

A source close to the matter told AFP that the suspect had been registered as an asylum-seeker.

- ' IS flag and symbol' -

The news site Spiegel Online reported, meanwhile, that the man had already been classed by German police as a possible suspect after he posed at the refugee centre with an IS flag, but he disappeared in December.

Welt am Sonntag said the man had drawn a symbol of the Islamic State organisation on the shelter's wall.

He had used different names in separate registrations with German authorities, and filed for asylum using the name Walid Salihi, according to the newspaper.

The man had also given different nationalities at each registration, once saying he was Syrian, another time saying he was Moroccan, and on yet another occasion, Georgian.

But French investigators said Friday the suspect appeared to have been identified by his family and was said to be a Tunisian named Tarek Belgacem.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins had said the man was carrying a mobile phone with a German SIM card, with French media reporting that it contained several messages in Arabic, some of which were sent from Germany.

In Tunisia, a woman who claimed to be the man's mother confirmed that he had been living in Germany but denied he had any links to extremist groups.

She told a Tunisian radio station that her son had rang her to ask her "to send him his birth certificate. He was in Germany."

The link to a refugee shelter in Germany, and the apparent ease with which the subject was able to file with the authorities, risks further inflaming a debate over the 1.1 million asylum-seekers that the country took in last year.

Mindful of the political sensitivity surrounding the issue, Recklinghausen's mayor Christoph Tesche said it remains "our humanitarian and legal duty to provide shelter for those who flee their homes".

But it was also equally important to work "intensively with relevant authorities to ensure that people with such intentions cannot hide in our institutions," he stressed.

Tensions were already running high after a spate of sexual assaults and thefts during New Year's Eve festivities in the western city of Cologne, with police saying suspects of the crime spree were mostly asylum seekers and migrants.

Cologne police said Saturday that they have recorded 379 cases of violence during the rampage that night, as far-right protests erupted in the western city against the assaults.

The latest link to the attacker in France risks fanning fears that would-be terrorists were slipping into Europe's biggest economy amid a record refugee influx.

Such concerns were already raised when it emerged that two of the suicide bombers in the November 13 attacks in Paris were carrying passports that had been registered as they arrived on a Greek island with a group of migrants in October.

However, French investigators are not convinced that the two men, who blew themselves up near the Stade de France stadium, were the men in the passports.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Church hides refugees from state in Bavarian beauty spot
The view near Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

The Catholic Church in southern Bavaria is offering religious asylum to refugees who fled Isis, and who the state now wants to deport.

German firm fights years-long battle to crack Rubik's Cube
Photo: DPA

A German toy manufacturer is nearing success in its long battle to be able to make a Rubik's Cube all of its own.

The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

1000s of smashed beer bottles bring Autobahn to standstill
The clean up near Bayreuth. Photo: DPA

The main road artery between Munich and Berlin was completely shut down on Tuesday evening after a truck driver committed a cardinal sin.

Far-right leader Petry under investigation for perjury
Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Her right wing populist party’s electoral successes have struck the fear of God into the political mainstream. But Frauke Petry is now under investigation in Dresden for perjury.

We'll crush German airlines, boasts Ryanair boss
Michael O’Leary. Photo: DPA

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has told a German newspaper that German rivals Air Berlin and Eurowings are doomed.

All aboard the €3,000 train ride from Berlin to London
Hercule Poirot on the Orient Express. Photo: Arte/DPA

One imagines that there is more than one Londoner who has moved to Germany in pursuit of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. Now they have the chance to travel like him, too.

Adidas to bring production home with robot shoe factory
File photo: DPA

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear and equipment, announced Tuesday that it will start marketing its first series of sportshoes manufactured by robots in Germany from 2017.

Passersby spur on mob as they attack refugees
File Photo: DPA

When four refugees were attacked near a tram stop in a town on the German-Polish border on Monday evening, pedestrians egged on their assailants.

Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Screenshot: Facebook

Members of anti-Islam group Pegida were outraged this week to see photos of black and Middle Eastern children on packets of Kinder chocolate bars – until they found out who the kids really were.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
7,775
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd