Europe

Neo-Nazi networks expanding in Germany: Spy chief

German intelligence chief warns of growing threat posed by far-right extremists

Ayhan Şimşek   | 13.05.2019
Neo-Nazi networks expanding in Germany: Spy chief

BERLIN

Germany’s intelligence chief on Monday warned of a growing threat posed by far-right extremist groups in the country.

"Considering the intensive networking of these groups, their use of fake news, false propaganda and massive street violence, we may witness the formation of small terror organizations from these violent groups," Thomas Haldenwang, head of domestic intelligence agency BfV, said in a televised interview.

He said violent protests in Chemnitz last year showed how small far right groups could rapidly mobilize local residents by spreading fake news on social media and other internet platforms.

Haldenwang said the BfV needed more personnel and surveillance powers to intercept communication among far-right extremists and monitor their propaganda activities.

German police recorded 19,105 far-right crimes in 2018, according to the latest government figures with extremists committing some 1,072 violent attacks against foreigners, immigrants or political rivals.

At least 498 people were injured in attacks inspired by far-right ideologies.

Germany has witnessed growing xenophobia and anti-migrant hatred in recent years, fuelled by the propaganda of neo-Nazi groups and the Islamophobic AfD party.

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