Suspected far-right extremist on Germany’s radar for months

BERLIN (AP) — German media reported Sunday that the main suspect detained last week as part of police raids on alleged far-right extremists had been on authorities’ radar for several months.

Der Spiegel reported that 53-year-old Werner S. from the Augsburg region was classified by the German security services as a potential violent threat.

The man, whose surname wasn’t released for privacy reasons, was among 12 men detained Friday in nationwide raids on suspicion of forming and supporting a “right-wing terrorist organization.”

A federal judge on Saturday ordered the men held in investigative detention.

The Welt am Sonntag weekly reported Sunday that the group referred to itself as “The Hard Core” and had links to a white supremacist group called Soldiers of Odin, founded in Finland in 2015.

German prosecutors alleged the suspects wanted to achieve their goal “with as yet-unspecified attacks against politicians, asylum-seekers and Muslims to provoke a civil war-like situation.”

Authorities in Germany have warned of the growing threat of far-right extremism. Last June, a regional official from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party was killed by a suspected neo-Nazi. In October, a gunman with anti-Semitic views attacked a synagogue in the eastern city of Halle, killing two passers-by.