Three Syrian refugee children have been hit and threatened with a knife by a gang of right-wing youths in eastern Germany, according to police.

The boys, aged  five, eight and 11, were getting out of a bus in the town of Sebnitz, around 40km east of Dresden, when they came under attack, police said in a statement on Friday.

Following the assault, the attackers started chanting right-wing slogans, police said.

Assaults in Germany heighten anti-immigrant sentiment

A spokeswoman for the police said the identity of the attackers was not yet known.

Police found several young people aged between 15 and 20 near the site of Thursday night's attack, but it is not yet clear if they were the attackers.

Hate crimes surge

Support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party has surged since last year's refugee influx, particularly in eastern states where unemployment is generally higher than in the west.

Last week, police cited xenophobia and nationalism for two bomb attacks targeting a mosque and a convention in Dresden, which is the birthplace of the anti-immigration Pegida street movement, short for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.

Its members have angrily protested against the influx of refugees and migrants that last year brought about one million asylum seekers to Europe's biggest economy.

READ MORE: Germany 'failing to deal' with surge in hate crimes

Far-right hate crimes targeting shelters for asylum seekers in the state of Saxony rose to 106 in 2015, with another 50 recorded in the first half of this year.

In an annual report outlining progress since reunification, the government warned last month that growing xenophobia and right-wing "extremism" could threaten peace in eastern Germany.

Source: Al Jazeera News And News Agencies