A RING of neo-Nazi extremists arrested in Germany this week is suspected of plotting an attack on Munich’s new synagogue on the anniversary of Hitler’s "Kristallnacht", police sources say.
The right-wing extremists, arrested in raids that also turned up machine-guns, grenades and nearly 30lb of explosives, were planning an assault on the 65th anniversary of the night when Jewish homes and business were attacked in the infamous Nazi pogrom, police say.
Their targets were high officials, including the German president, Johannes Rau, due to lay the foundation stones for the synagogue and school for Munich’s 8,000-strong Jewish community.
Nine people have been taken into custody since Tuesday’s raids, and officials believe the plot could be a warning of rising ultra-right violence.
The eye has been taken off these extremists as police and political resources are deployed to combat the threat of Islamic terror, critics say, with Hamburg fingered as a base for the 11 September plotters.
A massive haul of weaponry discovered in Saxony three years ago brought the first indications that skinhead elements were trying to organise 1970s-style terror. The "SSS" neo-Nazi group had assembled a half-built car bomb, detonators, heavy machine-guns, a rocket launcher and projectiles. Police said that raid also thwarted a fledgling guerrilla campaign.
"This is a new and disturbing dimension in the arena of the far-right," Gnther Beckstein, interior minister for Bavaria, said this week.
The ringleader arrested after a tip-off in Munich was Martin Wiese, 27, an embittered and infamous figure on the far-right scene from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state, formerly in the communist east.
Police believe he secured the arms and explosives from contacts in his home state.
His Southern Comrades Club is estimated to have around 30 members whose homes are bedecked with swastikas, Third Reich literature and computers linking them to the internet.