Germany’s interior ministry has banned neo-Nazi group Nordadler, or Northern Eagle, and conducted police raids in North Rhineland-Westphalia, Saxony, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony.
The group uses social media channels such as Telegram, Instagram and Discord to promote its ideology, attract new members and condone far-right attacks.
Steve Alter, the ministry’s spokesman, on Tuesday announced the move against Nordadler on Twitter, saying “right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism have no place on the internet”.
According to the ministry’s assessment, the group follows a Nazi ideology and operates under several names.
Its members pledge themselves to Adolf Hitler and other high-profile Nazis, as well as using symbols and language from the Nazi regime.
They were also planning a Nazi settlement project with like-minded people in rural areas. The group is described as highly anti-Semitic.
Its leader expressed sympathy for last year’s attack on a synagogue in the German city of Halle in a public group on messaging service Telegram, according to the ministry.
The attack in Halle saw a 28-year-old German man try to force his way into a Jewish place of worship. When he failed, he killed two people on the street and at a kebab shop. He is due to appear in court in July.
Nordadler is the third neo-Nazi group to be banned by the interior ministry this year, coming after crackdowns on Combat 18 as well as United German Peoples and Tribes.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has declared far-right violence the “biggest security threat facing Germany” and promised tougher security measures, including a crackdown on online hate speech.