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Photograph: Google maps

The mayor of a town in northern Germany was knocked unconscious by an unknown assailant, apparently due to his plans to establish a refugee home in the local area, police said Friday.

Joachim Krebschull, 61, was hit over the head with some kind of club, according to a police spokesman, as he was about to attend a building planning committee meeting in Oersdorf, in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

He lost consciousness as a result of the attack and was taken to hospital. The attacker fled the scene.

Police are investigating whether the attack was motivated by right-wing extremism, which has been on the rise in Germany since an unprecedented refugee influx in 2015.

The local lawmaker had received a number of threats over the last few months, including a threatening letter on Thursday. It read: "Those who don't want to hear will have to feel it," according to police.

A local civil society group, Oersdorfer Waehlervereinigung, said a number of threats against local officials had been made recently in connection with plans to set up a home for refugees in the town.

German took in 1.1 million migrants in 2015, and attacks against migrants, their accommodation and people who support them have risen sharply.

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