Xenophobia rears its ugly head: Germany has been shocked by what Berlin's Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has called a "new form of far-right terrorism," following the discovery of a new neo-Nazi cell in eastern Germany, which has been linked to the murders of nine immigrants between 2000 and 2006.
The shocking details include a grotesque film left by the members of the cell, confessing to the murders.
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The Berlin Prosecution said Monday that police had arrested a suspected accomplice of the group, which referred to itself in the film as the "Nationalist Socialist Underground." The group is also thought to be linked to the murder of a policewoman in 2007 and a bomb attack on a Turkish area of Cologne in 2004.
The group was uncovered after a suspected accomplice – a woman named by the police as "Beate Z" – handed herself into police last week. A 37-year-old man was also arrested in Hamburg on Sunday on suspicion of being a member of the group.
The prime suspect (Photo: AFP)
Details emerged after police found the bodies of two men, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, both with far-right links, in a mobile home in Eisenach last week. Police believe they committed suicide after a botched bank robbery.
Shortly after the discovery investigators searched a burned-out house in Zwickau, used by the men and one woman, "Beate Z," who later handed herself in to police. There they found guns used in the murder of the policewoman and of the nine vendors, eight of whom were of Turkish background and the other a Greek.
All had run small businesses or fast-food stands, in cities across Germany, leading to the killings being dubbed the "doner murders."
Confessions of a dangerous mind
German Police also found a 15-minute film recorded on DVDs ready to be sent to Islamic cultural organizations and the media.
Stills from the film, published in the Der Spiegel magazine, showed the murder victims' mangled bodies and carried grotesque montages using the cartoon figure of the Pink Panther to point out the scenes of the killings.
The victims (Photo: AFP, HO POLICE)
Interior Minister Friedrich said all unsolved crimes with a suspected far-right connection dating back to 1998 would be re-examined for connections to the group.
"It looks as if we are dealing here with a new form of far-right terrorism...Now it is all about finding out whether or not more people were involved, whether there is some kind of network and finding out what dimensions all this has," he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the murders were shameful for Germany: "We must assume that this is right-wing extremism in the worst form, and it is shaming that such a thing can happen in our country," she told German television.
Merkel vowed to thoroughly investigate the murders and expressed her shock at the “worst form” of terror linked to right-wing extremists.
"Beate Z" faces charges of murder, attempted murder, arson and belonging to a terrorist organization.
Reuters contributed to this report
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