Germany to refocus on neo-Nazis

Aug. 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM
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BERLIN, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- German intelligence failures have led to the neglect of a flourishing homegrown neo-Nazi movement, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Security agencies around the world have concentrated on Islamist terrorists, and Germany has felt a special urgency since several hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks resided in the German city of Hamburg. However, a small cell of right-wing extremists went undetected while it killed 10 people, nine of them with immigrant backgrounds, over seven years, the Post said.

The focus away from neo-Nazis in Germany was highlighted by a 473-page intelligence report in 2011 from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, an office the newspaper called comparable to the American FBI, which mentioned "no structures for right-wing terrorism were detectable."

It was released immediately before the discovery of a neo-Nazi cell allegedly responsible for the murders, more than a dozen bank robberies and the bombing of a hair salon in an immigrant section of Cologne, Germany, the newspaper said.

"There was no political will" to go after right-wing groups, said Hajo Funke of the Free university of Berlin and an expert on right-wing extremism. "This is one of the reasons the groups could go so widespread."

The Federal Office installed a new leader last week, who has sworn to overhaul the country's intelligence services, the newspaper reported.

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