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23 Dec, 2020 15:29

Berlin police arrest two suspects in chain of alleged neo-Nazi attacks

Berlin police arrest two suspects in chain of alleged neo-Nazi attacks

German police have arrested two individuals suspected of being involved in a string of alleged far-right attacks that spanned over the past few years.

The arrest was announced by the Berlin prosecutor’s office on Wednesday in a brief message on Twitter. The prosecutor said the two individuals are believed to be linked to the chain of attacks that has plagued the city’s borough of Neukolln, promising to release further details later.

The suspects have been identified as Sebastian T. and Tilo P. by local media, which described them as “neo-Nazis.” The duo have reportedly been under the police’s radar for a long time and were suspected of being the perpetrators behind the Neukolln attacks.

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Neukolln, located in the southeastern part of Germany’s capital, saw a chain of mysterious attacks that targeted local left-wing politicians, trade unionists, as well as other people somehow involved in helping refugees. The attacks, that began at least as early as May 2016, involved arson of cars and other property, as well as repeated emergence of offensive graffiti and slogans, including death threats against left-wing activists and politicians. 

All in all, some 23 arson attacks and around 50 other incidents, believed to be interlinked, have been registered in Neukolln. The Wednesday arrests became the first one linked to the troubles in the borough.

A glaring lack of progress on the case also prompted allegations of the local police mishandling the investigation. Back in October, two special investigators were appointed to review some 70 incidents of arson and threats, particularly those that occurred between 2016 and 2018, evaluating the police response and finding possible errors on their part.

The arrests have been already hailed by left-wing politicians. Martina Renner, German MP with Die Linke (The Lefty) party, said the arrests brought “satisfaction” to those subjected to threats and other harassment, as well as to those who “tirelessly pointed” at the suspected perpetrators for years already.

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It comes a few days after a German court slapped Stephan Balliet, a neo-Nazi extremist, with a life sentence over the October 2019 synagogue shooting. The attack left two people dead while further casualties were avoided as Balliet failed to penetrate the synagogue’s doors. The attacker did not express any remorse over his actions, describing Jews as his “enemies” during the trial.

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