german police policija njemačka.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SVEN HOPPE

Germany has banned a neo-Nazi internet portal used by Holocaust deniers to exchange content and post xenophobic slurs, part of a Wednesday crackdown that saw the arrest of two people suspected of running the site.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had announced earlier Wednesday that the website, Altermedia, would be taken offline.

Jutta V and Ralph Thomas K - whose full names have been withheld under German privacy laws - have been arrested on charges of spreading content tantamount to hate speech, prosecutors said. They also stand accused of founding a criminal organization.

Authorities also searched the homes of three other suspects at locations across Germany and in the Spanish seaside town of Lloret de Mar.

Federal prosecutors have described Altermedia as a German-language, right-wing extremist internet platform used to advocate attacks on foreigners. The site was also a hub for conspiracy theorists, who do not accept the Nazi crimes of World War II as fact and claim that the Holocaust was made up by Jews to advance that group's interests.

De Maiziere said the site allowed "the propagation of extremely racist and xenophobic comments and posts."

Altermedia, which according to the federal prosecution was hosted by a Russian server, was still accessible on Wednesday morning, but is now blocked.

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