Germany arrests far-right suspect over threat to attack Muslims

Police find weapons in house of 21-year-old man who was inspired by last year's Christchurch massacre in New Zealand.

    Germany has been rocked by a string of far-right attacks over the past 12 months [File: Ina Fassbender/AFP]
    Germany has been rocked by a string of far-right attacks over the past 12 months [File: Ina Fassbender/AFP]

    Police in Germany has arrested a man on suspicion of planning to kill Muslims in an attack inspired by the 2019 massacre in two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques, according to prosecutors.

    The 21-year-old from the northern city of Hildesheim had announced his attack plans "in an anonymous internet chat", the state prosecutor's office in the town of Celle said on Monday.

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    Initial investigations show the suspect "has for some time been considering the idea of committing an attack in which he wanted to kill numerous people in order to attract worldwide media attention", prosecutors said.

    The suspect referenced the Christchurch attacker, who killed 51 people in two mosques in March 2019, and said he wanted to carry out a similar attack.

    "His aim was to kill Muslims," prosecutors said.

    Weapons found

    Police found weapons in the suspect's home, as well as electronic files containing far-right content.

    He was arrested on Saturday and faces charges of threatening to commit criminal offences and financing violence through the purchase of weapons.

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    Germany has been rocked by a string of far-right attacks over the past 12 months.

    A gunman with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the city of Hanau, near Frankfurt, in February, while two people were killed in an attack on a synagogue in Halle, near Leipzig, in October.

    In June 2019, pro-immigration politician Walter Lubcke was found shot dead at his home in the central state of Hesse, and a far-right sympathiser has been charged with his murder.

    Interior Minister Horst Seehofer proclaimed in March that far-right violence was "the biggest danger for democracy in Germany", promising a beefed-up security response.

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    SOURCE: News agencies