German police raid homes of extremists allegedly planning attacks on Jews, refugees

BERLIN (JTA) – Police have raided the homes of right-wing extremists across Germany on suspicion of planning attacks on Jews, refugees and police.

Police searched 12 apartments and other sites across the country early on Wednesday, gathering information for an investigation. Seven suspects come from the states of Baden-Württemberg and Baden. Some 200 police officers from the states of Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt were involved in the operation, which was initiated by the federal Prosecutor General.

The purpose of the raid was to gather additional evidence about the structure of the organization and possible planned attacks by the group; due to their ongoing investigation, police did not give further information.

The main suspect allegedly comes from the city of Schwetzingen near Heidelberg, and is a member of the so-called Reichsbürger, a far-right movement that rejects the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany. German intelligence agents told news agencies that the remaining six suspects under investigation are not members of the movement.

According to the German Press Agency, the unnamed main suspect is alleged to have formed a terrorist association using social media. One member was tasked with assembling an arsenal of weapons and ammunition. Discussions about a planned attack reportedly began in the spring of 2016. But investigators in Karlsruhe said they had no knowledge of any specific plans.

Last October, after a member of the Reichsbürger movement shot and killed a police officer and wounded three others in Nuremberg, investigators revealed that members of the group had infiltrated the German police. The organization reportedly has several thousand members in Germany.

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