Attacker lived in German refugee shelter

Berlin, January 10

German police yesterday raided an asylum seeker shelter where they said the man who sought to attack a Paris police station on Thursday had lived.

Police found no indications that other attacks had been planned, they said in a statement following the search at the shelter in western Germany’s Recklinghausen.

The police statement did not specify that he was an asylum seeker but a source close to the matter told AFP the man was indeed registered as one.

The man was shot dead by police after trying to storm a police station in northern Paris on Thursday, brandishing a meat cleaver and wearing a fake suicide vest. The attempted attack took place exactly one year since the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks that shook Paris.

Investigations are ongoing in close cooperation with French authorities, said police from the state of North Rhine Westphalia, declining to give further information for fear of compromising the probe.

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

His link to an asylum seeker shelter in Germany risks further inflaming a debate over the 1.1 million asylum seekers that the country took in last year. 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 had said yesterday that they had recorded 379 cases of violence during the rampage that night.