Fake Suicide Bomber Killed In Paris May Have Been Involved In Cologne Sex Attacks, Police Say

| by Nicholas Roberts
Train Station in Cologne, Germany.Train Station in Cologne, Germany.

The Syrian ISIS fanatic who was shot and killed during a failed attack on a Paris police station on Jan. 7 may have also participated in the Cologne sexual attacks on New Year's Eve.

The man is believed to be an 18-year-old Syrian named Walid Salihi, although the Sun reports he used several different aliases. He was officially registered as an asylum-seeker in Germany, although he reportedly identified as a 20-year-old Moroccan when he arrived in France and has also pretended to Tunisian and Georgian.

He had been living in a home for asylum-seekers in western Germany before the attack, The Washington Post reports. He also may have participated in mass sexual attacks against women in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve, according to the Sun.

It is not known for sure if Salihi took part in the attacks. He has been previously arrested for sexual abuse of women at a Cologne disco in 2014, and was reportedly an acquaintance of a man who was arrested in connection to the New Year's Eve attacks, the Sun reports.

Salihi was fatally shot on Jan. 7 after he attempted to break into a French police station, armed with a butcher's knife and a fake suicide vest. The planned attack was to take place on the anniversary of 2015's Charlie Hebdo massacre. Salihi was discovered by authorities to have an ISIS flag scrawled on a piece of paper in his pocket.

Authorities are still unsure of the man's true identity and whether or not Walid Salihi is his real name, according to The Washington Post. His case has heightened fears even further that ISIS-affiliated militants are disguising themselves as migrants and refugees and entering Europe.

German police searched a shelter where the man was believed to have lived in the town of Recklinghausen after the attack took place. He had been charged with several different crimes between May 2014 and November 2015 involving weapons, drugs, theft and causing bodily harm, authorities said.

The Washington Post reports that criminal proceedings were initiated against the man for drawing ISIS flags in various parts of the refugee shelter, but were later suspended.

Recklinghausen Mayor Christoph Tesche said of the case:

“It is and remains our humanitarian and legal duty to give shelter to people fleeing their homes because they fear for their lives. It is also our duty -- especially towards our citizens -- to work very intensely together with all responsible agencies to prevent people with such intentions from hiding in our facilities.”

Sources: The Washington PostThe Sun / Photo credit: Facebook via Der Spiegel