Police in the Austrian city of Innsbruck are trying to identify a group of foreign men believed to have sexually assaulted 18 women during New Year's Eve celebrations, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The women have reported that unidentified assailants had groped and tried to kiss them that evening as they stood in or near a crowded central square for a concert and fireworks display. Most described a group of five or six men, the police spokesman said.

In neighboring Germany last year, hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed at New Year's celebrations in Cologne and suspects were mainly of North African and Arab appearance. Police there said they prevented a repeat of this year by screening 650 mostly North African men on the night.

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