A man who was shot dead after trying to attack a Paris police station last week had been an asylum seeker since 2011 and had a criminal past, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Sunday.

The revelations are likely to fuel criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy for refugees, after a spate of sexual assaults blamed on migrants during New Year's Eve festivities in Cologne shocked the country.

The man in the thwarted Paris attack had "travelled across Europe and made (asylum) requests everywhere" and "had a criminal past", de Maiziere told ZDF television.

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