Three Syrian men arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning an attack on behalf of ISIL have suspected links to the perpetrators of the Paris attacks, according to Germany’s interior minister.
Thomas de Maiziere said on Tuesday that the three Syrian men appear to have used the same smugglers and received passports from the same workshop as some of those involved in the November 13 attacks in the French capital.
The three men were arrested in northern Germany in the early hours of Tuesday.
They had been under observation for months and there were no indications of any concrete plans for an attack, according to De Maiziere.
The men – aged 17, 18 and 26 – arrived in Germany in November by posing as asylum seekers to “either execute an existing mission or to stand ready for further instructions” from ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, said the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe.
The Syrians were detained as part of a counterterrorism operation in which some 200 officers raided six locations in the states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, the Federal Criminal Police Office BKA said.
Prosecutors said that the three men were all arrested in Schleswig-Holstein, but have declined to confirm reports that the raids took place in refugee homes.