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Man held in Germany 'was en route to Paris'

Published 14/11/2015

Bavarian state police spokesman Ludwig Waldinger confirmed that firearms, explosives and hand grenades were found
Bavarian state police spokesman Ludwig Waldinger confirmed that firearms, explosives and hand grenades were found

A 51-year-old man arrested in Germany last week with weapons in his car might be linked to the Paris attacks, the governor of Bavaria has said.

A spokesman for Bavarian state police confirmed earlier that firearms, explosives and hand grenades were found when officers stopped a man near the Austrian border on November 5.

Ludwig Waldinger declined to confirm reports by public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk that the man appeared to be en route to Paris when he was arrested.

Responding to questions about the Paris attacks, Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer said: "In the course of spot checks we had an arrest where there are reasonable grounds to assume that there may be a link to the matter."

Citing unidentified investigators, Bayrischer Rundfunk reported that documents found during the arrest indicated that the man was from Montenegro and was travelling to Paris. It also reported that the weapons, which it said included an automatic rifle and 1kg of TNT, were professionally hidden inside the body of the car, a VW Golf.

Rainer Wendt, chairman of the German Police Union, said security agencies appeared to have been tipped off that the man was planning to enter Germany.

"It seems it was found that he originally wanted to go to Paris, heavily armed with several different firearms and explosives," Mr Wendt told German news station n-tv.

"That the French authorities were informed about this is totally clear," he added. "From what we know the man is in custody and isn't saying anything, so with that information alone the French authorities seem to have been unable to do much. At least the attack couldn't be prevented, despite all the efforts that were surely made."

Meanwhile, the German national football team has arrived home after spending Friday night at the Stade de France stadium because of the terror attacks.

The German football federation (DFB) said the team landed in Frankfurt on Saturday morning. The World Cup winners had been due to return to their hotel after the friendly against France but stayed inside the stadium after two explosions went off outside during the game.

Germany are due to play the Netherlands in Hannover on Tuesday but have delayed the journey. All team activities scheduled for Sunday have been cancelled.

DFB vice-president Reinhard Rauball said a decision on the game will be made later, "but I think you can't give way to terror".

"We're happy we could organise the departure. Everything else will be decided later," DFB security chief Hendrik Grosse Lefert said.

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff said the squad's "thoughts are with the victims and their families".

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