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Germany detains three Islamic State suspects with 'links' to Paris gunmen

All three of the suspects left Syria last October and used the Balkan-route to enter Germany. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Berlin, Germany Sep 13, 2016, 01.06 PM (IST)
German police have arrested three men suspected of being Islamic State militants with links to the Paris attackers in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein. 

Police said they were under survelliance for a month and labelled them as a possible ''sleeper cell.'' The three men with forged Syrian passports were detained in the pre-dawn raids in northern Germany. 

Prosecutors suspect the three men identified only as Mahir al-H., 17, Ibrahim M., 18, and Mohamed A., 26, were sent to Germany in November 2015. The three were either plotting an attack or awaiting orders to commit one. 

"Concrete missions or orders have not so far been found in the course of investigations carried out so far," said federal prosecutors in a statement.

The initial investigations revealed that the three men left Syria last October and travelled via Turkey and Greece to enter Germany. 

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the suspected militants apparently used the same migrant trafficking network as the Paris attackers in November last year. 

"There is every reason to believe that the same trafficking group used by the Paris attackers also brought the three men who were arrested to Germany," de Maiziere told a press conference.

He said their forged Syrian passports could have come from "the same workshop". 

One of the suspects, Mahir al-H is believed to have joined the Islamic State group in its de facto capital of Raqqa in September 2015. 

Prosecutors said the men had received some weapons and explosives training. They were sent to Germany with mobile phones and four-figure cash sums in US dollars. 

German authorities have expressed concerns that more supporters of the militant group could have entered the country among the one million asylum seekers who arrived last year. 

Germany has suffered a recent spate of violent attacks, two of those were claimed by Islamic State. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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