Germany could be facing a resurgence of right-wing terrorism after police arrested 13 people who had allegedly planned to attack refugee centres with guns, knives, baseball bats and explosives.
Authorities have warned against the steep rise of attacks against asylum facilities or advocates, as the total refugees applying this year could exceed one million in Germany. The Federal Criminal Police Office said almost 580 such attacks had been recorded so far in 2015, compared with 198 in all of 2014, when about 200,000 people applied for asylum.
11 men and two women were arrested during raids in Bamberg, Bavaria, as they allegedly planned attacks on refugee centres to "instil fear and terror among asylum-seekers". Several of the accused are members of the The Right (Die Rechte), a small neo-Nazi political party, while one person was involved in organizing a rally in Nuremberg for an affiliate of the anti-Islam group Pegida, according to deputy police chief for the Upper Franconia region, Werner Mikulasch.
"It is a violent group that is characterized by extreme right-wing ideology and the fight against leftist groups and refugees," state prosecutor in Bamberg, Erik Ohlenschlager, told local reporters.
According to prosecutors, some of the suspects had planned to throw explosives into two shelters for refugees, including the Balkan in Bamberg. Several of the right-wing suspects had ordered pyrotechnic equipment that is banned in Germany.
These included ball bomb firecrackers, which Ohlenschlager described as "highly dangerous explosives", according to the national news agency DPA. Mikulasch explained the explosives could have even caused serious injury or death if detonated close to people in a confined space.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who visited one of the refugee shelters on Thursday (23 October), praised police for the arrests, and said they "might have prevented attacks or other crimes".
At least five of the suspects detained were released after initial questioning but several remained in custody.