Germany arrests 4 in investigation of far-right groups

BERLIN (AP) — German authorities on Wednesday arrested four alleged members of a far-right group in an investigation targeting several extremist organizations.

The four men, identified only as Leon R., Maximilian A., Eric K. and Bastian A. in line with local privacy rules, were detained in central Germany, federal prosecutors said.

They said the four were leading members of a far-right combat sports group, “Knockout 51,” which held training sessions at the local headquarters of a small far-right party in the eastern city of Eisenach and aimed to indoctrinate young men and train them in street fighting.

The group, which has links to far-right players in other parts of Germany, tried to set up a “Nazi neighborhood” in Eisenach and its members injured several people, prosecutors said. They also allegedly traveled to protests against coronavirus restrictions at which there were clashes with police and counter-protesters.

In all, 61 properties in various parts of Germany were raided on Wednesday. Prosecutors said they also are investigating 21 people suspected of keeping alive the “Combat 18 Deutschland” group despite a ban by German authorities.

They are investigating 10 people suspected of being members of or supporting an organization called “Atomwaffen Division Deutschland.” Prosecutors described it as a terrorist group and a German offshoot of “Atomwaffen Division,” a white supremacist organization that has existed in the U.S. since 2015. Leon R. is one of the suspects in that case.

And prosecutors said five people are under investigation in connection with “SKD 1418,” a far-right chat group that was active in 2019 and 2020.

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