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Germany: 14 Bundeswehr members deemed extremist

March 3, 2020

Germany's military intelligence service has been investigating hundreds of Bundeswehr soldiers suspected of harboring right-wing extremist leanings. A new report seen by German media shows what they've discovered.

A soldier standing on asphalt
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Gollnow

The German Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) classified 14 members of the armed forces as extremists in 2019, German media reported Tuesday.

The finding was detailed in the intelligence agency's first-ever report on the issue.

The document, which was submitted to Parliament and seen by German press agency DPA and news magazine Der Spiegel, said the list of individuals included eight Bundeswehr members who were found to be right-wing extremists.

Four others were said to be Islamists, while two were described as belonging to movements that do not recognize the German state and its laws. A further 38 people reportedly lacked allegiance to the German constitution.

Read more: Right-wing terror in Germany: A timeline

Extremists in the ranks

A string of cases of extremism in the German military and among other security forces have been brought to light in recent years, as the government struggles to contain right-wing extremist threats and violence in the country.

The most prominent example involved Franco A., a German army soldier who is standing trial for terror-related offenses. In 2017, he was arrested and accused of leading a double life, posing as a Syrian refugee in order to carry out an attack that he hoped would be mistaken for Islamist terrorism.

The MAD report said the number of suspected cases of extremism within the German army had risen significantly in 2019, without elaborating on the number of alleged cases in previous years. The agency also said it had introduced new working methods to target extremism.

Read moreEurope's right-wing extremists try recruiting from police, army

Earlier this year, MAD said more than 500 German soldiers were being investigated for suspected extremist views, with 360 cases of suspected right-wing extremism registered in 2019. 

Local politicians under attack

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