The armed wing of German's new right-wing party has reportedly sent death threats to MEPs. A number of former members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party received threatening letters from a group that has called themselves the "AfD Army Faction".
According to The Telegraph, one of the letters read: "We will take revenge for every vote you cost the AfD! Blood! Death to you!"
One of the letters was allegedly signed with the words "Heil Hocke", a reference to Bjorn Hocke, a prominent member of the AfD party. It has connotations with the Nazi greeting "Heil Hitler".
While it remains unclear whether those sending the letters had any official links with the AfD party leadership, German police have reportedly launched an investigation into the threats. The letters were sent to former AfD MEPs who left the part in protest over its anti-immigrant stance.
The new neo-Nazis
AfD originally emerged as a Eurosceptic party in 2013, however, their stance has since shifted dramatically to the right and begun to focus on immigration in light of the refugee crisis. Their original leader was ousted in a part coup last year by Frauke Petry.
Petry has called for police in Germany to be given the power to shoot asylum-seekers at the border, including women and children. The party previously caused controversy with their policy to reduce the emphasis on teaching Nazi crimes in schools.
AfD originally won seven seats in the European Parliament when it was an anti-Euro party, however, five of those MEPs have now defected to new Eurosceptic party, Alpha. Petry has called on them to give their seats back to the AfD.
The Telegraph reported that one of the letters addressed to Hans-Olaf Henkel, one of the AfD's most prominent defectors, read: "Death to you and your weakling Alfa-racemates." A letter to MEP Bernd Kolmel allegedly said: "P**s off with your a******e party of we'll clear it up and start with your children. Frauke Petry will be chancellor of a new Germany without you and your s**t."
The AfD won second place in state elections in Saxony-Anhalt on 13 March, with many viewing this as a vote against Angela Merkel's refugee policy. However, a recent poll has also revealed that there has been increasing support for the Chancellor's migrant policy.