Germany struggles to crack down on far-right extremists


German authorities raided sites linked to five people suspected of forming a "right-wing terrorist organization” and planning to carry out attacks against politicians and minorities. Federal prosecutors say the raids took place Friday at 13 locations in six states. Prosecutors said the five suspects are alleged to have formed an organization in September 2019 with the aim of overthrowing the state and social order in Germany. They allege that the suspects wanted to achieve their goal “with as yet unspecified attacks against politicians, asylum-seekers and Muslims to provoke a civil war-like situation.” Eight other people are being investigated on suspicion of pledging to financially support the group, procure weapons or participate in future attacks.

The move came after the country announced last month it would ban the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 Deutschland in what the country's top security official said was a “clear message” against far-right extremism and anti-Semitism. The group is an offshoot of Combat 18, which was founded in Britain in the early 1990s as a militant wing of the British National Party. The number 18 stands for the first and eighth letters of the alphabet, AH, which are the initials of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) announced last month that the number of far-right extremists who are classified as "dangerous" in Germany has increased. German police are currently classifying 53 of the 12,700 far-right extremists as "dangerous," as reported by Deutsche Welle. In 2012, only 22 far-right extremists were considered dangerous. The "dangerous" classification is used for people who are thought to be able to commit severe violent crimes.

Facing growing far-right extremism, Germany has been shaken by more than 100 bomb and death threats sent to lawyers, politicians and institutions last year, apparently by German neo-Nazi groups, local media reported, revealing the threat of a growing neo-Nazi presence in the country.