BERLIN (JTA) — Police 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 Wednesday. They arrested two men and confiscated firearms, explosives and other weapons as well as attack plans. A dozen others are suspected of involvement but were not arrested.
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.
According to the German Press Agency, the main suspect allegedly formed a terrorist association using social media.
The alleged ringleader is one of the two arrested: Burghard B. — identified by some sources as Burghard Bangert, 62, from Schwetzingen near Heidelberg. He is a member of the so-called Reichsbürger, a far-right movement that rejects the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Among the messages he reportedly promoted on the internet was a call to “destroy your enemies. Begin today … Pig heads in every synagogue, mosque and every kebab shop. Slaughterhouses can deliver them.”
The raid aimed to gather evidence about the structure of the organization and possible planned attacks.
Along with the two arrested, five others suspected of involvement are from the states of Baden-Württemberg and Baden and belong to the Reichsburger. German intelligence agents told news agencies that six others under investigation are not members of the movement.
One member of the group was tasked with assembling an arsenal of weapons and ammunition. Discussions about a planned attack reportedly began last spring, 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.