The federal prosecutor has launched a probe into a bomb attack in 1999, which was allegedly carried out by the NSU members. The link first came to light during recent witness testimony in a high-profile neo-Nazi trial.
Germany's federal public prosecutor began an official investigation into a possible new link to a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by the right-wing extremist group, the National Socialist Underground (NSU) between 2000 and 2007.
The head judge overseeing the trial in the Munich court, Manfred Götzl, filed the request for an inquiry after witness testimony revealed the alleged link.
Federal Prosecutor Herbert Diemer confirmed that his office had begun the probe. However, he could not say why investigators had failed to reopen file on the 1999 bombing in Nuremberg while searching through unsolved cases over the past year for possible ties to the NSU.
"This case obviously fell through the cracks," said Diemer.
Witness continues bombing statement
Carsten S., whose full name has been withheld under German privacy guidelines, continued to answer questions on Wednesday about the Nuremberg bombing, which he had mentioned for the first time the previous day.
In 1999, an 18-year-old employee at a Nuremberg bar sustained injuries to his upper body when he accidentally detonated a pipe bomb disguised as what appeared to be a flashlight. The incident occurred in a bar owned by a Turkish immigrant.
Carsten S. said he had heard Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos discuss leaving "a flashlight in some shop in Nuremberg," but that it wasn't until later that he realized they might have been talking about a bomb.
"I recall that they said it hadn't worked and that put my mind at ease," he added.
Earlier in the trial, Carsten S. admitted that a handgun he'd delivered to Böhnhardt and Mundlos was probably used in nine of the ten killings allegedly committed by members of the NSU.
On Wednesday, he said that he had considered removing the silencer from the gun they had ordered "so that they wouldn't do anything stupid."
"[But then] I decided that nothing would happen. That's why [I gave it to them]," he said.
Böhnhardt and Mundlos died in an apparent suicide pact in 2011 following a botched bank robbery. Their believed accomplice, Beate Zschäpe, is currently on trial and faces life in prison if convicted.
Zschäpe has refused to speak during the proceedings thus far. On Wednesday, German public broadcaster SWR reported that authorities had intercepted a letter from Zschäpe to an alleged neo-Nazi in prison near the northwest town of Bielefeld. The nearly 30-page letter details her daily existence in prison, but refrains from direct references to the trial.
kms/jm (AFP, Reuters, dpa)