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Federal Criminal Police Office warns of xenophobic violence

The number of attacks against refugee shelters has more than doubled this year compared to 2014. The Federal Criminal Police Office fears that right-wing extremists will intensify their anti-refugee violence.

Asylum-seekers, people who help them and politicians are increasingly at risk of becoming the targets of xenophobic crimes. According to the newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and German public broadcasters WDR and NRD, this is the conclusion of a confidential report of the country's criminal investigative police force, the Federal Criminal Office (BKA). The report was written a few days before the knife attack on Coloogne mayoral candidate Henriette Reker on Saturday. The attack on the politician who was elected mayor on Sunday - and who is known for her pro-refugee stance and organization of migrant accommodation in Cologne - was motivated by xenophobia.

The BKA expected right-wing extremists to intensify their "agitation" against Germany's asylum policy. Although the right-wing spectrum was "very heterogenous" in Germany, the BKA said that the refugee issue provided it with an "ideological consensus."

Beside asylum seekers, their helpers and politicians with a pro-refugee stance, even foreign-looking Germans who could be mistaken for asylum seekers were in danger of being attacked by extremists, the report said.

The threat of right-wing terrorism

According to the BKA's assessment, the number of attacks on refugee shelters has increased dramatically. In the first three quarters of this year, the BKA registered 461 crimes that are thought to be motivated by xenophobia. Thus, the number of such crimes had more than doubled compared to the previous year.

Some 34 percent of the suspects were part of the right-wing extremist scene, the report argued. While 42 percent committed their crimes alone, in 49 percent of the cases the perpetrators were organized in small groups of two to five people.

However, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the "Passauer Neue Presse" newspaper that "we can't speak of right-wing terrorism at the moment. But there is such a threat and we are paying attention to it." For now, de Maiziere said, there was no evidence of national or even regional coordination in the actions.

das/rc (dpa, EPD)

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