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Germany bans far-right group, raids leaders’ homes

Germany bans far-right group, raids leaders’ homes
epa08231123 Flowers and candles are placed in front of the Midnight Shisha Bar where people were shoot dead, after two shootings in Hanau, Germany, 20 February 2020. Ten people were killed in two shootings at shisha bars in Hanau, police said. The perpetrator, a suspected far-right extremist, was reportedly found dead later at his home along with the body of his mother. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

BERLIN, March 19 (Reuters) - Germany banned a far-right group on Thursday and police in 10 states raided the homes of 21 of its most senior members, the interior minister said, stepping up a crackdown on anti-Semitic organisations after deadly attacks by racist gunmen.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he had banned “United German Peoples and Tribes”, the first such action against a group with links to the Reichsbuerger – “Reich Citizens” – network that claims allegiance to the pre-war German Reich.

“Right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism are being fought relentlessly even in times of crisis,” Seehofer said in a statement, adding that the group had engaged in “verbal militancy” against civil servants and their families.

Germany stepped up monitoring of far-right groups and sympathisers after a shooting rampage at shisha bars near Frankfurt last month by a racist gunman who shot dead nine people and attacks in October by an anti-Semitic gunman in the city of Halle that killed two.

The domestic intelligence agency last week stepped up its monitoring of a radical wing of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the agency’s chief said that right-wing extremism was the biggest threat to German democracy. (Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Joseph Nasr and Gareth Jones)

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