Authorities and witnesses said the New Year's Eve attackers were among a group of about 1,000 people, described as predominantly Arab and North African men, who gathered at Cologne's central train station.

Cologne authorities have recorded over 500 complaints related to the alleged mass sexual assaults, when groups of men roamed crowds and groped women.

In another study, which was released Tuesday, the Media Research Center found that ABC and NBC had broken their silence on the case - but only in the context of protests in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to official government estimates, 1.1 million people arrived here a year ago seeking asylum.

"If so many of our party speak out in favour of partial refusal at the border, we should all be able to vote on it", Christian von Stetten, one of the MPs behind the move, told Bild newspaper.

A police spokeswoman said there was a roughly equal number of counter-demonstrators, who held candles and asked for better integration measures.

As the reports indicate, police so far positively identified 19 suspects.

Germany has been outraged by a rash of crime targeting women at New Year's festivities in Cologne in the west that has been blamed on migrants.

YouGov explained that the shift in opinion among female respondents was probably caused by a perceived link between the New Year's Eve attacks on women in Cologne, Germany, and Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming refugee policy. On Saturday, protesters from groups opposed to immigration from Muslim countries took to the streets of Cologne, where they were met with left-wing...

Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who announced the plans alongside de Maiziere, said that public pressure following the Cologne assaults had played a role in getting the plan agreed so quickly. They will also include a larger number of ignorant people who think it is not a crime to attack non-Muslim girls sexually.

Police say a group of about 1,000 people, mostly men, were responsible for the attacks.

But thousands more who say they want to claim asylum in Germany are still allowed to enter despite crossing through other European Union member states.

Afterward, five men attacked and injured a man of Syrian descent, police said.

Speaking days after Chancellor Angela Merkel said "clear signals" had to be sent to potential offenders, Mr Maas tweeted that the core of the government's reforms would be to ease extradition of foreign criminals and strip them of refugee status if they had committed particular offences.

The police's handling of the events has also been sharply criticised.

One senior officer told me they're relying on mobile phone footage taken that night to identify the perpetrators.

And Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker has been slammed for advising women to keep "more than an arm's length" away from unknown men in response to the assaults.