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German ex-soldier charged with planning terror attack

March 25, 2022

Prosecutors have said that the suspect was planning to take over the German government and kill immigrants. The Bundeswehr has suffered from a spate of similar incidents in recent years.

A police man stands in court
The 22-year-old suspect allegedly had a cache of weaponsImage: Christian Grube/IMAGO

State prosecutors in Frankfurt on Friday charged a former soldier with plotting a serious terror attack.

The 22-year-old former member of the German military, the Bundeswehr, together with his father and brother, were found to have a cache of weapons as well as material pointing to a plot to overthrow the German state.

Prosecutors said the man kept "a large number of short and long guns" he did not have a license for, as well as "grenades and amunition as well as various explosive devices."

According to investigators, the man was inspired by Nazi ideology, and had written a manifesto to that effect by the age of 16. He allegedly began to hatch a plan to create a militant neo-Nazi organization to take over Germany and rid it of immigrants and refugees. By July 2020, officials said, he had become determined to implement his plan.

Family members also charged

His father, 64, and brother, 21, are alleged to have approved of the plan. The weapons cache was hidden amongst a series of garages adjoining their properties in the district of Hochtaunus, northwest of Frankfurt. The two family members have been charged with aiding and abetting.

All three are also facing charges of violating weapons and explosives laws. They have been in custody since 2021 as investigators worked to determine the extent of their crimes.

The case against the main suspect was first opened when his former girlfriend went to police to accuse him of domestic abuse.

He was for a time a lance corporal in the Bundeswehr, but authorities have not yet said when and why he left the military.

In recent years, Germany has had to come to grips with an uptick in far-right extremist incidents involving both current and former soldiers.

es/nm (dpa, epd)