2 men detained by German police for having explosives may have links to right-wing terrorist group

2 men detained by German police for having explosives may have links to right-wing terrorist group
Two suspects detained with 155 kilograms of pyrotechnic explosives may have links to a neo-Nazi terrorist group, German DPA news agency reported, citing a local prosecutor’s office. One reportedly had an explosive device bearing a swastika and SS signs.

The explosives were found in a private flat in Lauterecken in western Germany on December 29. A local prosecutor’s office said the suspects may belong to a neo-Nazi group called the ‘Oldschool Society,’ DPA reports.

In addition to the explosives, investigators found an improvised explosive device bearing a swastika and SS runes, according to the report.

The detention of the two men and seizure of the pyrotechnic explosives was reported earlier in January by the prosecutor’s office itself. One suspect was caught with 110 kilograms of the material, and the other with 45, according to their statement, which stressed that the priority of the investigation was to find out if they had connections to far-right extremists. 

The statement added that investigators were also tasked with finding out if the suspects had planned to set off an explosion during the New Year’s celebrations in the center of the nearby town of Kaiserslautern – a charge they denied.

The suspects, aged 18 and 24, both denied all charges, describing themselves as “amateur pyrotechnicians” and claiming the explosives were meant to be used during New Year Eve’s celebrations.

The ‘Oldschool Society’ came into the spotlight in 2015 when German police arrested four members of the neo-Nazi group during an anti-terrorist raid. In January of 2016, it was revealed that the four, identified in the local media as Andreas H., 57, Markus W., 40, Denise Vanessa G., 23, and Olaf O., 47, had been planning to bomb refugee centers and assassinate Islamist clerics.

The ‘Oldschool Society’ had allegedly sent Markus W. and Denise Vanessa G. to the Czech Republic, where they attempted to buy a large quantity of explosive materials, while Andreas H. had been working on how to increase the power of their nail bombs.

The four extremists began meeting in November of 2014, well before the massive influx of refugees reached current record levels, and launched a Facebook group to disseminate their ideas and recruit followers.

According to a Spiegel report, their Facebook cover at the time was an infamous photo of the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp that read “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”).