Germany’s right-wing extremists
February 20, 2020 - Germany’s BfV intelligence service identified over 32,200 right-wing extremists in 2019, a third higher compared to 2018 when authorities counted 24,100 people involved in right-wing extremist networks.
A German man shot and killed at least nine people at several locations in central Hanau in attacks that appear to have been motivated by far-right beliefs, officials said.
Tobias Rathjen, a 43-year-old neo-Nazi, first attacked a shisha bar at about 21:00GMT on Wednesday, killing several people, before opening fire at a second shisha bar, claiming more victims.
Shisha bars are places where people gather to smoke flavoured tobacco from Middle Eastern water pipes, and some of the victims appeared to be Turkish.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while the circumstances of the attack still need to be thoroughly investigated, the shootings exposed the “poison” of racism in German society and she pledged to stand up against those who seek to divide the country.
Thursday’s attack comes after the murder of pro-migrant politician Walter Lübcke in June, and a gunman’s assault on a synagogue in the city of Halle in October.
In 2018, anti-terror police seized 1,091 weapons linked to crimes by alleged far-right extremists such as the far-right Reichsbürger movement, as experts warned of a “massive rearmament” by neo-Nazi groups.