Raids on German neo-Nazi group yield weapons, propaganda after ban

German authorities have followed up a ban on a neo-Nazi group with nationwide raids, in which officials seized weapons and right-wing extremist propaganda, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The so-called Weisse Woelfe Terrorcrew - made up of 25 core members - is a neo-Nazi organization suspected of planning attacks on refugee accommodation and involvement in a violent attack on left-wing protesters in 2014.

"This organization is an alliance of neo-Nazis who openly incite hatred against our state, our society, people with politics differing from their own, against migrants and even police," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said during a press conference after the raids.

He told the press that a ban had been issued against the extremist group.

"This organization openly advocates the values of National Socialism and wants to create a dictatorship along these lines - this is a goal they are pursuing through all possible means."

The raids were conducted in 10 German states - including the port city of Hamburg, where the group's ringleader is located - and resulted in the confiscation of weapons, external hard drives and propaganda material, de Maiziere said.

The group's members are active across the country and started out as part of the skinhead scene, the Verfassungsschutz intelligence agency said in a report in 2008.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday's raids would act as a deterrent to other far-right groups.

"We will not stand by while neo-Nazis break our laws," he said. "Whoever acts aggressively towards the state or migrants will have to deal with decisive consequences."

German authorities are mounting a crackdown on right-wing extremism in Germany. The Interior Ministry banned a neo-Nazi web portal called Altermedia in January and broke up a right-wing terrorist group - the so-called Oldschool Society - last year.

Four members of the Oldschool Society are going on trial in April on charges of forming a terrorist organization and planning a bomb attack on a refugee accommodation in the eastern state of Saxony.

Last update: Wed, 16/03/2016 - 18:33
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