Paris terror attacks: Reactions: Germany

Probe on ties of man held with arms and explosives

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere speaking at a press conference on the Paris terrorist attacks, in Berlin, Germany on Nov 14, 2015.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere speaking at a press conference on the Paris terrorist attacks, in Berlin, Germany on Nov 14, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

BERLIN • The German authorities are probing whether a man from Montenegro arrested in the southern state of Bavaria over a week ago has ties to the perpetrators of last Friday's terror attacks in Paris, after discovering assault weapons and explosives in his vehicle.

"There's a link to France but it hasn't been established that there's a link to this attack," German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin last Saturday.

Officials found "very dangerous weapons" in the 51-year-old's car and a Paris address entered into the navigation unit. "Whether there's a connection is being investigated," said Mr de Maiziere.

Officers discovered two pistols and a hand grenade during a routine check on the main highway from Salzburg, Austria, to Munich on Nov 5. Closer inspection of the vehicle revealed eight Kalashnikov rifles with ammunition, two handguns, a revolver, two hand grenades and 200g of TNT, said the criminal investigation office in Bavaria in a statement.

The man remains in custody and is refusing to talk. Bavarian officials alerted their counterparts in France immediately after the arrest, reports said.

But Montenegro's Interior Ministry was told by German police that the case is being treated "as isolated and without any links to terrorism", said ministry spokesman Tamara Popovic.

The German authorities have stepped up searches on vehicles arriving from the Balkans as they crack down on human traffickers transporting refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

The Paris attacks started near the Stade de France football stadium during a friendly match between Germany and France. The German team spent the night in the stadium before taking a specially arranged flight to Frankfurt early last Saturday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2015, with the headline 'Probe on ties of man held with arms and explosives'. Print Edition | Subscribe