German far-right extremists planned attacks on mosques

German far-right extremists planned attacks on mosques

Members of a far-right group arrested in Germany were planning attacks on mosques, politicians and asylums seekers, local media report.

The 12 German nationals, allegedly belonging to Der harte Kern (The Hard Core), were detained on February 14. Another man believed to be a part of the group is still on the run, according to newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Four of the men were arrested on suspicion of forming Der harte Kern; the remaining eight are suspected of providing the group with money, weapons and other support.

The men reportedly met through messaging service WhatsApp, and formed the organisation last September. It is believed they have links to the Soldiers of Odin, another far-right group founded in Finland five years ago.

The alleged leader of the German group, a 53-year old known as Werner S, was known to authorities and resides in the southern city of Augsburg.

Last week he allegedly met with other members and discussed plans for ten separate attacks in the country, including massacres at mosques similar to those carried out in New Zealand last year. They reportedly hoped their actions would provoke counter-attacks and lead to a civil war, BBC reported.

According to the press reports, investigators were tipped off by someone who had infiltrated the group. In subsequent raids, authorities found guns and materials that can be used to produce home-made bombs.

Germany's highest criminal court, the Federal Court of Justice, has ordered that the men be detained while the investigation continues.