Anti-terror police arrest three men and a woman in raids across Germany over plot by right-wing extremists to blow up mosques, jihadists and asylum seekers

  • Suspects are accused of founding group to target Muslims and jihadists
  • Arrested in separate raids by some 250 police who also seized explosives 
  • Gang wars rife between far-right extremists and Islamic-extremist Salafists

Anti-terror police have carried out raids across Germany, seizing explosives and arresting four people accused of plotting to attack Muslims, jihadists and asylum seekers.

The suspects – three men and a woman – are accused of founding right-wing extremist group Oldschool Society to target mosques and members of the Islamic-extremist Salafist scene.

They were held during raids by some 250 investigators on homes in Saxony and four other states, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement. 

The four arrested, identified only as Andreas H, 56, Markus W, 39, Denise Vanessa G, 22, and Olaf O, 47, in line with German privacy laws, are being held on terrorism charges and are also accused of having procured explosives.  

Taken into custody: A suspect named only as Andreas H is arrested during anti-terror raids across Germany over an alleged plot to attack Muslims, jihadists and asylum seekers 

Taken into custody: A suspect named only as Andreas H is arrested during anti-terror raids across Germany over an alleged plot to attack Muslims, jihadists and asylum seekers 

The statement identified Andreas H and Markus W as the group's president and vice president.

'According to current investigations, it was the group's goal to conduct attacks in smaller groups inside Germany on well-known Salafists, mosques and asylum seeker centres,' it said.

'For this purpose the four arrested procured explosives for possible terror attacks by the group.'

Prosecutors said they are still trying to determine whether the group had concrete attack plans and refused to comment beyond their written statement.

There have been conflicts in recent years between far-right extremists and Salafists in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia that have escalated into violent street fights. 

In 2013, authorities said they foiled a Salafist plot to assassinate a high-ranking member of a far-right party in the state.

An Investigator loads evidence from the appartment of an allegeded member of a terrorist group

An Investigator loads evidence from the appartment of an allegeded member of a terrorist group

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the Oldschool Society appeared to be a newly-formed group.

'We are very glad that it hopefully has been nipped in the bud – everything else will be shown by the investigation,' Mr de Maiziere said.

Rhineland-Palatinate interior minister Roger Lewentz, at the same news conference, held up what appeared to be the group's logo - a white skull on black background framed by bloody butcher's cleavers with lightning bolts resembling the runes of the Nazi SS.

'The SS rune is in there - that's not for nothing,' Mr Lewentz said.

Evidence: The suspects were held during raids by some 250 investigators on homes in Saxony and four other states, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement

The were held during raids by some 250 investigators on homes in Saxony and four other states, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement

Sinister: The suspects – three men and a woman – are accused of founding right-wing extremist group Oldschool Society to target mosques and members of the Islamic-extremist Salafist scene

Sinister: The suspects – three men and a woman – are accused of founding right-wing extremist group Oldschool Society to target mosques and members of the Islamic-extremist Salafist scene

Right-wing extremists have been a renewed focus for German intelligence agencies after it came to light that a neo-Nazi group calling itself National Socialist Underground, or NSU, allegedly killed eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. 

It is also believed to be behind two bombings and 15 bank robberies.

Mr de Maiziere said statistics released today showed a sharp increase of 22.9 per cent in violent crimes by right-wing extremists in 2014 to 1,029 - including 175 attacks on refugee homes, three times the number in 2013.

'Crimes that have a xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racist motive have especially increased,' Mr de Maiziere said in presenting the report. 

'Increasingly, asylum seekers and refugee homes are being targeted. This development is worrisome and must be stopped.'