Dawn raids on 33 suspected German neo-Nazis
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
The man, center, who was arrested as an alleged accomplice of a neo-Nazi group that has been linked to the killings of nine immigrants and a policewoman over the past decade, is led by police to a courthouse in Karlsruhe, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. AP photoGerman authorities said they had carried out dawn raids Tuesday on 33 suspected members or supporters of a neo-Nazi group, carrying out 24 arrests.
The 6:00 am (0500 GMT) raids on the 33 German citizens aged between 17 and 54 were part of a probe into the banned group "Aktionsbuero Mittelrhein", prosecutors in the western German city of Koblenz said in a statement.
They also launched a probe into allegations of grievous bodily harm, serious breach of the peace and use of banned symbols.
"Nineteen of the accused were arrested for membership of a criminal organisation, three for supporting a criminal organisation and two for participating in a serious breach of the peace," the prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, the "Aktionsbuero Mittelrhein" gathered information about political opponents and then "outed" them publicly in a bid to intimidate them.
"All participants were aware that a climate of hate was being created and fears were being stoked," the statement added.
"Another area of activity was the openly violent acts against members of the left-wing scene, both locally and further afield," added the prosecutors.
However, investigators said there was no link to the neo-Nazi cell National Socialist Underground (NSU), believed to have killed 10 people -- mostly shopkeepers of Turkish origin -- in a case that has shocked the country.