Reichstag
Germany's Reichstag parliament building in Berlin was firebombedCLEMENS BILAN/AFP/Getty Images

German police say they suspect a neo-Nazi group was behind a firebomb attack against the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin.

An unidentified person threw a Molotov cocktail onto the entrance steps of the German parliament building early on Monday morning.

No one was injured and the flammable liquid burnt itself out, without spreading, in a short time.

Police say the attacker, who managed to flee from the scene, left a number of flyers ascribable to extreme-right ideology.

Local media reported the leaflets contained xenophobic slogans.

The incident might have a symbolic dimension. In 1933, an arson attack against the Reichstag allegedly perpetrated by a Dutch Communist was seized on by Adolf Hitler to launch a crackdown on communist lawmakers and pass restrictive laws that gave him absolute powers, eventually transforming the government into a Nazi dictatorship.

Communal tensions have been on the rise in Germany in the wake of deteriorating security in the Middle East.

The Reichstag firebombing came as police launched an investigation into allegations that refugees were abused by private security guards at an asylum centre, in Burbach, near Bonn, after images of torture emerged.

Home to approximately 4.5 million Muslims, Europe's largest economy has recently experienced a rise in asylum applications, partly because of the war in Syria.

Reports on home-grown radicals fighting with Islamic State jihadists have helped fuel far-right anti-immigration rhetoric.

Germany's domestic security agency said that almost 400 German nationals have travelled to the Middle East to join the jihad.