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German police warn of security gaps after French attacks

While German intelligence listed the Charlie Hebdo attackers as radical Islamists, no direct link between the French attacks and Germany has been found. But police unions are calling for more powers to combat terrorism.

Representatives of Germany's police force on Saturday called for better financing to help protect German citizens from terrorism.

Arnold Plickert, deputy head of the German police union GdP, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that to combat the dangers posed by terrorists, police needed not just more personnel but also more powers. He added that funding for domestic security had been reduced to almost nothing in recent years.

The head of the DPolG police union, Rainer Wendt, told television station n-tv that there were large gaps in aviation security and airport control procedures.

Both unions also called for increased powers to store telephone and Internet data as part of efforts to fight crime, something already advocated Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union, but opposed by coalition partner, the Social Democrats.

Rainer Wendt

Wendt says data retention is a major tool

Wendt said that, particularly in light of the recent terrorist attacks in France, it was important to know with whom the attackers had had contact, where they obtained weapons and whether they had had people helping with preparations.

'No German links'

This comes as the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported on Saturday that the Islamist terrorists involved in this week's attacks in France did not have contacts to the German jihadist scene.

"Our French colleagues told us that the recorded communications had no German link. There were no telephone calls recorded with the German prefix 0049," the paper quoted an "influential official" as saying.

The paper said, however, that the terrorists Said and Cherif Kouachi, who are suspected of killing 12 people in an attack Wednesday on the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, were known to German intelligence services as Islamists with violent potential.

The two brothers were also on a US terrorist watch list and were banned from traveling to the United States.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is to meet with his EU counterparts on Sunday in Paris to talk about measures to adopt following the attacks and to issue a joint statement.

Welt am Sonntag reported that EU states were, among other issues, considering accelerating the implementation of an agreement on exchanging data about air passengers similar to the one that already exists between Europe and the United States.

tj/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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