German Justice Minister: Cologne attacks planned in advance

“No one can tell me that it wasn’t coordinated and prepared,” the minister said. “My suspicion is that this specific date was picked, and a certain number of people expected. This would again add another dimension [to the crimes].”

The newspaper provided details from official police reports citing the use of social networks by some north African migrant communities to encourage their fellows to join them in the square between the Cologne train station and the cathedral, where the now hundreds of incidents of molestation and pick-pocketing took place.

Maas was careful to echo his colleagues, however, when it came to warning the public against placing blame on the country’s immigrants, saying “to assume from somebody’s origin whether or not they are delinquent is quite reckless.” The minister added that it is “complete nonsense” to take these crimes as evidence that foreigners cannot be integrated into German society.