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Germany: Soldier arrested in far-right terror plot

10th May 2017
Germany: Soldier arrested in far-right terror plot

By Ayhan Simsek

 

BERLIN (AA): German police on Tuesday arrested a second soldier in connection with a far-right terror cell within the army suspected of plotting a major terror attack.

Maximilian T., 27, was arrested on suspicion of helping fellow suspects — lieutenant Franco A. and student Mathias F. — in planning a serious attack which would have targeted a senior politician or a public figure.

It is thought this attack would be intended to influence the government’s migration and refugee policy, a Federal Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman told a news conference in Karlsruhe.

Lieutenant Franco A., and his friend Mathias F., were arrested late last month after police discovered the lieutenant had been living a double life for more than a year as a Syrian refugee under a fake name.

Frauke Koehler said the suspects were believed to have been planning a serious act of violence which they could then blame on refugees.

She confirmed the names of former President Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas were on a list of potential targets prepared by the suspects.

Franco A., a suspected far-right extremist, caught the attention of the authorities in February, when he tried to hide a pistol in a restroom at Vienna International Airport in Austria.

At that time, he was briefly arrested but later released by the Austrian authorities.

During searches at the suspects’ apartments last month police found 1,000 rounds of ammunition from army stocks.

“The accused is strongly suspected of planning a severe act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Far-right groups have viewed the German government’s open-door policy for refugees as a national security threat.

Since 2015, Germany received more than 1.1 million refugees, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, who were forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

The foiled terror plot has sparked a public debate in Germany about poor oversight within the army and a lack of strong penalties against far-right extremists convicted of crimes.

The Defense Ministry had informed parliament last month it was investigating 275 suspected right-wing extremists in its ranks.

Additional reporting by The Muslim News

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