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Germany: Europe-wide raid on alleged right-wing extremist group ‘werewolf’

18th Jul 2013

Authorities in northern Europe have raided the homes of several alleged right-wing extremists. Investigators suspect their group, dubbed “werewolf,” of planning terrorist attacks on German soil.

Police in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland swept into homes, offices and jail cells early on Wednesday to search for clues of a terrorist plot aimed at the German political system. They conducted a raid which targeted six suspects, according to Germany’s federal prosecutor.

Some 50 police personnel took part in the searches in Germany, which spanned across the northern cities of Hannover and Hamburg, and reached into the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It was not immediately clear in which cities the Dutch and Swiss searches occurred.

No arrests were made and investigators have thus far not found any concrete plans for an attack, the federal prosecutor said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors had been secretly investigating the alleged cell for months, according to a report published by the German magazine Spiegel Online.

Officials believe the “terrorist organization,” known as the “Werewolf Commando,” had been using an encrypted code to communicate electronically. The name reportedly stems from guerrilla commandos planned for deployment behind enemy lines shortly before the downfall of Hitler’s Nazi regime, according to Spiegel.

Wednesday’s raid came a day after French police arrested a Norwegian heavy metal musician, Kristian Vikernes, at his home in central France. The French Interior Ministry said he had been “liable to prepare a large-scale terrorist attack.”

The threat of far-right extremism in northern Europe has regained attention in recent years following two prominent terrorist attacks.

In 2011, Norwegian far-right radical Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in a bombing in downtown Oslo, followed closely by a shooting spree.

In a separate incident several months later, German authorities uncovered a far-right terrorist cell, known as the National Socalist Underground (NSU), which had been operating undetected for over a decade. The trio allegedly killed ten people, primarily of Turkish origin, between 2000 and 2009. Suspected NSU member, Beate Zschäpe, and four co-defendants are currently on trial in Munich.

kms/ccp (AP, AFP, dpa)

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