Sunday 25 September 2016

Sex attacks in Cologne coordinated - minister

Melanie Hall

Published 11/01/2016 | 02:30

German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits to give a statement during the annual Christian Social Union (CSU) Epiphany meeting in the southern Bavarian resort of Wildbad Kreuth near Munich, Germany January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
German Chancellor Angela Merkel waits to give a statement during the annual Christian Social Union (CSU) Epiphany meeting in the southern Bavarian resort of Wildbad Kreuth near Munich, Germany January 6, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Germany's Justice Minister has said that he suspected a wave of sexual attacks on women in Cologne during New Year's Eve was planned, rather than a spontaneous action.

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"If such a horde gathers in order to commit crimes, that appears in some form to be planned," Heiko Maas told the newspaper 'Bild'.

"Nobody can tell me that this was not co-ordinated or prepared."

His comments came as tensions continued to run high after the attacks.

Police said yesterday that the number of cases filed over violence during the festivities in Cologne had reached 516 - 40pc of which related to sexual assault.

The Cologne police chief was fired amid public outrage about the attacks, which have increased pressure on German leader Angela Merkel.

Her 'open door' policy towards refugees has come under sustained criticism after it emerged that some of the attackers were 'of foreign origin', despite earlier denials that asylum seekers were involved.

Irish Independent

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