Europe

New arrest as Germany links neo-Nazis to 10 murders

A pistol identical to that found in Zwickau (image from 2006)
Image caption Police had been searching for their murdered colleague's pistol

Police in Germany have made a second arrest after the dramatic discovery of evidence linking a self-styled Nazi group to the murder of nine foreigners.

A man suspected of being a member of the hitherto unknown "National Socialist Underground" was arrested near the northern city of Hannover.

Eight ethnic Turks, an ethnic Greek and a policewoman were murdered.

The group only came to light this week after one alleged member surrendered and two others killed themselves.

Beate Z - her surname was not given for legal reasons - had been sought by police over an armed robbery in the eastern city of Eisenach.

She handed herself in on Tuesday after allegedly blowing up the flat she had rented in the eastern town of Zwickau.

The remains of two men close to her, who were also wanted over the armed robbery, were found shortly afterwards in a burning caravan in Zwickau.

A pistol recovered from the caravan was found to be the service weapon of a German policewoman shot dead in 2007 in the south-western city of Heilbronn. A second pistol is also believed to have been recovered.

Hans-Werner Wargel, head of the Lower Saxony department for the protection of the constitution, said Germany could be "dealing with the worst case of right-wing violence in decades".

'Brown Army Faction'

Holger G, 37, was arrested on suspicion of being a member of the National Socialist Underground since the late 1990s, German prosecutors said.

He is suspected of providing his driving licence and passport to the other three alleged members of the group.

Image caption The woman suspect allegedly blew up the house where she had been living

The murder victims of foreign origin were small businessmen - mainly kebab stall owners - who were shot in the face in broad daylight at their places of work.

The murders were committed in several German cities between 2000 and 2007.

Germany is home to some 3,000,000 people of Turkish origin.

Police did not link the killings to neo-Nazis until the discovery last week of the two handguns.

Other evidence found included National Socialist Underground propaganda DVDs prepared for sending to news agencies and Muslim cultural centres.

The name National Socialist Underground (German: Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund) echoes the name of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist, or Nazi, party.

Police identified the two men found dead in the caravan as Uwe B and Uwe M.

Beate Z faces charges of murder, attempted murder, arson and belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Germany's far right is small and politically marginalised, but has given rise to concern with periodic attacks on immigrants.

German media have dubbed the group discovered in Zwickau the Brown Army Faction after the now defunct left-wing Red Army Faction group, which killed more than 30 people between the 1970s and 1990s.

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