German prosecutors said Tuesday that a fourth suspect has been arrested in the ongoing investigation into a string of murders linked to a recently uncovered neo-Nazi cell. Ralf W. is accused of being an accessory to murder on six counts and of attempted murder.
Prosecutors believe the 36-year-old German helped provide the group with money and weapons, allowing the cell to live undetected for years. Ralf W. has reportedly been active in right-wing extremist circles in the state of Thuringia since 1995. In 2002, he became the deputy head of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) in Thuringia.
Three others have been arrested so far in connection with the 10 murders, including Beate Zschäpe, the cell's suspected co-founder, and alleged supporters Holger G. and Andre E. Zschäpe turned herself into authorities earlier in November but has refused to cooperate in the investigations.
National Socialist Underground
Zschäpe is believed to be a close associate of the two main suspects, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, who appear to have shot themselves earlier this month after police connected them to a bank robbery.
Eight of the murder victims were of Turkish descent, and one was of Greek descent. The 10th victim was a female police officer.
The group, known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is believed to have been formed in 1998. In addition to the 10 murders, authorities are investigating suspected connections to several unsolved crimes, including attacks in the western cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf from 2000 to 2004, as well as a number of bank robberies.
Author: Holly Fox (dapd, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Martin Kuebler
Editor's note: Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.