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World Far-Right Terrorism Is No. 1 Threat, Germany Is Told After Attack

04:00  22 february  2020
04:00  22 february  2020 Source:   nytimes.com

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“ Far - right terror is the biggest threat to our democracy right now,” Christine Lambrecht, the justice minister, told reporters on Friday, a day after joining the Horst Seehofer, the interior minister, said on Friday that he had ordered increased police patrols of key infrastructure like airports train stations and

The Hanau crime fuels fears that Germany has underestimated the far - right terror threat . Far - right killings since the NSU case have raised questions about Germany 's protections against neo-Nazis The Halle synagogue attack last October triggered calls for better police protection of Jewish sites: no

BERLIN — German officials have faced accusations for years of turning a blind eye to the threat posed by right-wing extremists. But after a German who embraced violent racist ideals killed nine mostly young people in hookah bars in the central city of Hanau this week, the response was swift and clear.

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London-based German counter- terrorism expert Peter Neumann said the text contained "various, but mostly Gun laws in Germany are among the most stringent in the world, and were tightened further in Recent far - right attacks in Germany . October 2019: In Halle, an attacker kills two and tries to

Right-wing terrorism or far - right terrorism is terrorism that is motivated by a variety of different right-wing and far - right ideologies, most prominently by neo-Nazism, neo-fascism, white nationalism

“Far-right terror is the biggest threat to our democracy right now,” Christine Lambrecht, the justice minister, told reporters on Friday, a day after joining the country’s president at a vigil for the victims. “This is visible in the number and intensity of attacks.”

The Hanau shootings on Wednesday were the latest in a series of far-right attacks at a time when the country’s hard-won democratic institutions face growing distrust and its usually consensus-driven politics have been fractured by the rise of a right-wing populist party, Alternative for Germany.

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Seehofer insisted that "in this government no - one is blind" to the threat from the extreme right . He and justice minister Christine Lambrecht highlighted that Germany has updated its law on firearms King's College London counter- terror expert Peter Neumann told Die Welt daily that "what is already

Recent far - right attacks in Germany . October 2019: In Halle, an attacker kills two and tries to storm a synagogue, broadcasting the assault live online. Germany 's Muslim association KRM called for more to be done in the fight against right-wing extremism, saying they had requested for month that

Officials have recorded increases in the number of far-right hate crimes in recent years, and security officials count 12,000 people in the country as known right-wing extremists.

Horst Seehofer, the interior minister, said on Friday that he had ordered increased police patrols of key infrastructure like airports train stations and high-profile events such as the Berlin Film Festival in response to the Hanau attack.

The police will also increase their presence around mosques, he said, a measure that has long applied to Jewish synagogues and cultural institutions in large German cities. Muslim leaders had called for such patrols, especially after mosques were listed among potential targets of an apparent far-right terrorist cell that was broken up last week.

Before those arrests came the killing of a local politician at the hands of a right-wing extremist in June and an attack on a synagogue in October that left two people dead.

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It added that the perpetrator's "racist ideology is by no means an isolated case", citing recent deadly attacks in Christchurch, Halle and Oslo. Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions.

" I believe that German authorities will make all the necessary efforts to shed light on the attack King's College London counter- terrorism expert Peter Neumann tweeted that the text contained German police have identified around 60 far - right adherents as "dangerous" individuals capable of

Another report on Thursday thickened the atmosphere of alarm: The police in the eastern state of Thuringia — home to one of Alternative for Germany’s most incendiary figures — said that a suspicious package found in January on the grounds of the former Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp contained an explosive device. They added, however, that they had found no evidence of an extremist link.

Mr. Seehofer’s speech reached back further, to two cases that the authorities were initially slow to connect with the far right: a series of murders of immigrants and their descendants in the early 2000s that were eventually found to be the work of three neo-Nazis who called themselves the National Socialist Underground; and a 2016 attack on a mall in Munich in which a gunman killed nine people.

“From the N.S.U. to the attacks in Munich, far-right extremists have left aa trail of blood across our country,” Mr. Seehofer said. “The threat posed by far-right extremism, anti-Semitism and racism is very high in Germany.”

After each attack, German officials have brought in new security measures, making it easier for different branches of government to exchange sensitive information, tightening already strict weapons laws and, last week, proposing legislation to combat online hate.

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But none of those measures appeared enough to prevent Tobias Rathjen, a 43-year-old German who was licensed to legally possess two weapons, from retreating into an online world of conspiracy theories and developing what the federal prosecutor Peter Frank called a “deeply racist worldview” that drove him to kill nine people in Hanau, all immigrants or their descendants.

Six others were injured in that attack, one of them gravely. The bodies of Mr. Rathjen and his mother were found in their home the next morning.

Mr. Frank’s office announced barely 12 hours after the first reports of gunshots in Hanau that they were opening a federal terrorism investigation.

“Our aim, in addition to clarifying the motive, is to determine whether there were any others who knew, possibly or even supporters who could face charges,” Mr. Frank said. Investigators plan to comb through the gunman’s electronic devices as well as his home and the crime scenes.

But Mr. Rathjen, like the German man who in October livestreamed his attempt to attack the synagogue in Halle, appeared to have been radicalized online, escaping the authorities’ notice until after blood was shed.

In Hanau, officials said they would appoint an ombudsman for victims’ families, who have at times been neglected or worse in previous cases. For years the police in the National Socialist Underground case treated the murders as gang warfare within the Turkish community, interrogating victims’ relatives as suspects even as they were struggling to come to terms with their loss.

“To put it plainly: Those who were murdered here in Hanau were not foreign,” said Claus Kaminsky, the city’s mayor. “They were citizens of Hanau, our neighboring cities. Some were born here, some were second-generation. Those murdered were fellow citizens.”

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