Germany denies Paris attack suspect had photos of nuclear facility

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has denied a media report that claimed photos of a German nuclear research facility were found in the Brussels apartment of Paris terrorist attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam.

Media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reported Thursday that authorities who searched Abdeslam's apartment in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek found photos of the Juelich research centre in western Germany, its chairman and other board members, as well as internet print-outs of articles about the facility.

RND cited several members of a secret parliamentary committee who said they had been briefed on the findings late last month by Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Verfassungsschutz.

Responding to the RND report, a Verfassungsschutz spokesman told dpa it had no knowledge of the photos and that Maassen had not briefed members of the parliamentary committee on the topic.

RND said it had requested comment from Germany's Interior Ministry and the Chancellery prior to publication, and that both had said they have no knowledge of the findings.

The research centre in Juelich is close to the Belgian and Dutch borders. Its nuclear research reactor has been inactive for nearly three decades, but atomic waste is still stored there.

The centre put out a statement on Thursday saying that it was in contact with the relevant authorities, but that there was "no evidence of a possible threat."

Media reports last month said that Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui - two brothers who perpetrated the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22 - had hidden a surveillance camera outside the house of Belgium's nuclear director, suggesting they may have had other plans that were cut short.

Gilles de Kerchove, the counter-terrorism coordinator of the European Union, later warned of a possible cyber attack on Belgium's nuclear power plants and other major infrastructure.

Last update: Thu, 14/04/2016 - 18:57
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