Germany snags possible suspect in Paris attacks

A man was arrested on Nov. 5 in Germany after police found eight machine guns, several handguns and explosives in his VW Golf. He was driving to Paris. 

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    With the Brandenburg Gate, illuminated in the French national colors, in the background, people lay down flowers and light candles for the victims killed in the Friday's attacks in Paris, France, in Berlin, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. French President Francois Hollande said more than 120 people died Friday night in shootings at Paris cafes, suicide bombings near France's national stadium and a hostage-taking slaughter inside a concert hall.
    (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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A man arrested in Germany's southern state of Bavaria in early November after guns and explosives were found in his car may be linked to Friday's deadly assault in Paris, Bavaria's state premier said on Saturday.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks in which gunmen wearing suicide bombing belts killed 127 people in several locations in the French capital on Friday.

"We have an arrest ... where there are reasonable grounds for presuming that it might be related to the matter," Horst Seehofer said in a speech at a local party congress of the Christian Democrats.

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the 51-year old from Montenegro had an address in Paris as destination in his vehicle navigation system and that as far as he knew the French authorities had been informed about it.

"Whether that means there is a connection (to the attacks) or not is being investigated," de Maiziere said after an emergency meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel's security cabinet in Berlin.

A spokesman for the Bavarian police said the man had been arrested on Nov. 5 on a motorway near the town of Rosenheim after investigators found eight machine guns, several handguns and explosives in his VW Golf. He is being held at Traunstein, a small city in the southeast of Bavaria, while investigations continue.

Analysis of the man's navigation system found that he drove from Montenegro via Croatia, Slovenia and Austria to Germany. Asked about his destination, the man said he wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, police said.

De Maiziere also said more extremists could be on the run in Germany, though he gave no specific reason for thinking this.

The minister confirmed German police had contacted French authorities after the arrest, but said it was not clear yet if the man was linked to the attackers in Paris and warned against premature conclusions.

De Maiziere also said it was not yet known by the authorities if the eight known perpetrators of the Paris attacks had accomplices.

Since last night, German authorities had been advised to implement measures to heighten security, such as stricter controls for air and train travel, the minister said. (Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and David Holmes)

 
 
 

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