German police raid homes of suspected far-right extremists

BERLIN (Reuters) – German police raided the homes of suspected members of a far-right group in Berlin and in the states of Brandenburg and Thueringia on Sunday, searching for weapons, the chief federal prosecutor’s office said.

The homes of eight people suspected of founding a far-right terrorist group were searched in the raids, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Investigators, assisted in their searches by the anti-terrorism GSG 9 police unit, were looking for weapons held by the suspects, who they believe are ready to kill targeted people if necessary. They did not detain any suspects.

The investigators believe the suspects are members of the Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich) group, who do not recognize modern-day Germany as a legitimate state and insist the former, far larger “Deutsche Reich” is still alive despite Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War Two.

The domestic intelligence service estimates that the Reichsbuerger have several thousand members.

One of them shot dead a police officer in Bavaria in October 2016 as a police team was about to enter his home to seize his hunting and sports guns, which the authorities deemed he was not fit to hold as a member of the group.

Sunday’s raids were not linked to the incident in Muenster on Saturday, when a man drove a camper van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant, killing two of them before shooting himself dead, the prosecutor’s office said.

(Writing by Paul Carrel, editing by Larry King)