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Charges in Germany for neo-Nazi terror group

January 13, 2016

Four Germans have been charged with forming a terrorist group meant to target refugees. The Oldschool Society allegedly planned to bomb a shelter for asylum seekers.

Terrorgruppe Oldschool Society
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Federal prosecutors in Germany announced on Wednesday that they had charged three men and one woman with forming a far-right terror group. Known as the Oldschool Society, the group was allegedly planning to detonate nail bombs at a home for asylum seekers.

The four suspects, who ranged in age from 23 to 57, are accused of meeting first in November 2014 with a larger group to discuss the "the manufacturing of explosives as well as attacks on Salafists and asylum seekers," according to a prosecutors' statement. By May 2015, when the four suspects were arrested, they already made a concrete plot "for a bomb attack at an inhabited refugee shelter."

"They discussed wrapping the explosives with nails or fuel. But the attacks did not take place as they were arrested on May 6, 2015, and have since been in detention," said authorities.

Suspects Markus W., 40, and Denise Vanessa G., 23, allegedly had the task of buying explosives in the Czech Republic, while Markus and another suspect, Andreas H., 57, were also working on how to make the simple pyrotechnics more powerful.

Olaf O., the 47-year-old fourth suspect, is said to have been the "press spokesman" for the group.

The trial is set to take place in Munich.

Refugee crisis sparks xenophobic violence

There has been a sharp increase in far-right crime and attempted crimes in Germany in the past year, particularly arson attacks on uninhabited planned refugee shelters, as the nation struggles to cope with the 1.1 million newly arrived refugees.

After a string of sexual assaults in the city of Cologne, committed largely by asylum seekers, the country is tense with worry that it could serve as a new excuse for xenophobic attacks. Police said that extremists tied to the far-right soccer hooligan scene in Cologne had used social media to organize gatherings on Sunday evening which ended in attacks on Pakistani, Syrian, and African men.

es/jil (AFP, dpa, AP)