German prosecutors are investigating an Algerian man who may have known of the Paris attacks in advance. The man was detained after warning refugees in northern Germany about violence in Paris days before it occurred.
Federal prosecutors in Germany announced on Friday that they were investigating the case of an Algerian who told Syrian refugees about explosions and fear in Paris prior to last week's attacks.
The authorities are trying to determine whether the 39-year-old man is an accomplice to the attacks or just someone who wanted to sound more important, said a spokesman in Karlsruhe.
"It is about the non-disclosure of a planned criminal offence," said the spokesman for the federal prosecutor.
According to reports from the German broadcaster SWR, the Algerian man spoke with Syrian refugees at a shelter in Arnsberg (pictured above), telling them that fear and terror would be spread throughout the French capital. He also mentioned possible explosions.
After receiving the information, the Syrian asylum seekers then informed the head of the refugee center about the Algerian man's comments.
A hand-written note with the words "Ali Baba 13.11. Paris" was also found in the Algerian man's room. It is still unclear, however, if the man wrote the note himself or merely had it in his possession, according to reports from SWR.
"Further investigation will show if the accusations are really true," the federal prosecutor spokesman added. Local authorities initially investigated the comments, but the decision by the federal public prosecutor to take the lead could suggest that the accusations are being taken more seriously.
"The accused is not cooperative," said Ralf Jaeger the interior minister for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Arnsberg and the suspect are located. He reported that the suspect was still in custody and refusing to talk.
The suspect is also believed to have an entry ban in France, and was known to French and German authorities prior to the attack. Further information on the case has not been released.
rs/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters, SWR)