German police arrest three IS suspects with alleged 'links' to Paris attackers

Prosecutors said the three men left Syria last October and arrived in Germany in mid-November

German police arrest three IS suspects with alleged 'links' to Paris attackers

File photo. Image: Hermann J. Knippertz / AP/Press Association Images

Three Syrian men have been arrested in Germany accused of being members of Islamic State and having a "link" to the Paris attackers.

The men were arrested in pre-dawn raids in northern Germany by more than 200 police.

The men, named as Mahir al-H, 17, Ibrahim M, 18, and Mohamed A, 26, are suspected of either plotting an attack or awaiting orders to commit one.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said they had a "link" to the Paris attackers, adding they may have been a "sleeper cell".

Mr de Maiziere said the men apparently used the same migrant trafficking network to travel from Syria to Europe and had fake Syrian passports that were made in the "same workshop" as those of the militants who killed 130 people in the French capital.

Prosecutors said they left Syria last October and arrived in Germany in mid-November.

They say Mahir al-H joined IS in what it claimed as its capital of Raqa in Syria by September 2015 where he underwent weapons and explosives training.

He and the other two accused were given fake passports, mobile phones and a four-figure cash sums in US dollars and, by October, all all three were on their way to Europe for talks with an IS member "in charge of missions and attacks" outside the Syria-Iraq region where the group has its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Once in Europe, "the three accused were meant to either execute a mission or await further instructions", the prosecution service said in a statement, adding no evidence of "concrete orders or instructions" had been found.

The men are being held at three residential locations in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein by more than 200 commandos of the federal police, federal criminal office BKA and police forces of several states.

Police also raided three asylum seeker shelters, Die Welt said.

Warrants for their arrest had been issued by a federal judge on 7 September, based in part on intelligence provided by Germany's domestic security agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Germany suffered two bloody attacks in July which IS said it carried out and were carried out by migrants. 

German authorities have urged the public not to confuse migrants and "terrorists", but have acknowledged that more jihadists may have entered the country among the one million asylum seekers who arrived last year.