Europe

'Far right link' in southern Germany anti-asylum-seeker fires

Neo-Nazi graffiti daubed on a building in Vorra, Image copyright AFP
Image caption Anti-immigrant graffiti suggested a far-right link to the fires

Far-right arsonists are believed to have caused fires which damaged three buildings earmarked for asylum seekers near Nuremberg in southern Germany.

The renovated buildings were empty when the fires took hold on Thursday night. Firefighters quickly put out the blazes and no-one was seriously hurt.

Swastikas were daubed on one building with the slogan "no asylum seeker in Vorra" - the town where it happened.

Germany hosts more asylum seekers than any other country.

Local authorities have been struggling to accommodate rising numbers of them, many of whom have fled the wars in Syria and Iraq.

Police in Vorra estimate the fire damage at 700,000 euros (£555,000; $872,000). The three buildings were a former restaurant, a barn and a vacant block of flats.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Firefighters were quickly on the scene in the Bavarian town
Image copyright AP
Image caption A view of the fire damage inside one of the buildings

Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, of the conservative CSU party, said it was "obviously arson".

"And these swastika graffiti raise suspicions that far-right activists could have been responsible," he added.

Vorra's Mayor Volker Herzog - from the Social Democrats (SPD) - said the activists were suspected of having met at a local house at weekends, though there was no pattern of far-right offences.

Bavaria's Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said Bavaria "is distinguished by its citizens' willingness to help and support those who seek peaceful refuge in Bavaria and protection from war and persecution".

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