German federal justice minister Heiko Maas delivers remarks in Berlin on the New Year's Eve assaults in Cologne, Germany, Jan. 5, 2016.
Britta Pedersen—DPA/AP
January 5, 2016 8:59 AM EST

MAINZ, Germany — Roving packs of men sexually assaulted dozens of women on New Year’s Eve in western Germany’s city of Cologne, officials said, describing the attacks as unprecedented.

The spree suggested a “new dimension of organized criminality,” German justice minister Heiko Maas told a press conference on Tuesday.

Police said the attackers — who struck in pairs and groups of up to 20 men — appeared to be part of a larger, 1,000-strong group that had gathered in one of the city’s main plazas for New Year’s celebrations.

Cologne’s police spokesman Thomas Held told NBC News that authorities had fielded around 90 complaints of…

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