Newspaper article International New York Times

Suspect Shot in Paris Remains a Mystery ; German Police Connect Carrier of Fake Explosives with House for Migrants

Newspaper article International New York Times

Suspect Shot in Paris Remains a Mystery ; German Police Connect Carrier of Fake Explosives with House for Migrants

Article excerpt

The German police said the man, who approached a Paris police station with fake explosives last week, had lived in a house for migrants in Germany.

The man shot to death by the police in Paris last week as he approached a police station with a meat cleaver and fake explosives was a petty criminal who used multiple identities and who lived in a house for asylum seekers in Germany's most populous state, the German police have said.

But the authorities in France have not fully confirmed that account, which came on Sunday amid increasing tensions in Germany about the influx of more than a million migrants over the past year. A wave of assaults against women in Cologne on New Year's Eve has led Chancellor Angela Merkel to propose tougher asylum regulations.

Late Saturday, the police in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia acted on a tip from the French authorities and raided an asylum shelter in the town of Recklinghausen where the man had been living, the state police said.

The police said they had found several SIM cards, documents in Arabic and two kitchen knives. The man had apparently been living there since August, the German authorities said.

Uwe Jacob, the director of police in North Rhine-Westphalia, said at a news conference on Sunday that the police had found a banner that read "Islamic State forever" in Arabic on the wall of what appeared to be a communal kitchen.

Mr. Jacob said that the man, variously described as Tunisian, Moroccan or Georgian, appeared to have used "at least seven identities," and that his true identity had not been established.

The man first surfaced in Germany in 2013 after living illegally for five years in France and had been under investigation on suspicion of dealing drugs and weapons, and assaulting and harassing women, Mr. Jacob said.

Besides serving a monthlong jail term in Germany, the man had also been arrested in France and Luxembourg, the German police said.

But the French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking to the iTele news channel on Sunday, said he could not confirm that the man had spent time in a center for asylum seekers in Germany, nor that he had sought asylum there. …

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