BERLIN, Jan 11: Two Pakistanis and a Syrian man have been injured in attacks by gangs of people in Cologne, the German city where most of the dozens of assaults on women occurred on New Year’s Eve, according to police, says an Al Jazeera report.
Local newspaper Express reported that the attackers were members of hooligan gangs who, via Facebook, arranged to meet in Cologne’s business district to start a “manhunt” for foreigners.
Police say that they are still investigating whether the attacks were racially motivated and whether there was any link to the New Year assaults.
Cologne police said a group of about 20 people attacked six Pakistanis on Sunday evening, injuring two of them.
In another incident a few minutes later, a group of five people attacked and injured a Syrian man, police said.
The assaults on women in Cologne and other German cities have prompted more than 600 criminal complaints, with the police investigation focusing on asylum seekers.
The incidents, ranging from theft to sexual molestation, have kicked off a highly charged debate in Germany about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy on refugees and migrants, more than one million of whom entered the country last year.
A regional parliamentary commission in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, whose largest city is Cologne, will question police and others on Monday about the events on New Year’s Eve.
Also on Monday, the anti-Islam political movement Pegida, whose supporters threw bottles and firecrackers at a march in Cologne on Saturday before being dispersed by riot police, will hold a rally in the eastern German city of Leipzig.