BERLIN (AA) – A group of far-right leaders and ex-military officers who plotted a coup in Germany had procured weapons and had concrete plans, the country’s domestic intelligence chief has claimed.
“This group had a large network across the country, they had precise plans, they had been prepared to use violence, even if that meant killing people,” Thomas Haldenwang told public broadcaster ZDF on Wednesday night.
He said the group had been under the scrutiny of the security agencies in the past couple of months, and authorities decided to launch an anti-terror operation as it became clear that the group had concrete plans to overthrow the government by violent means.
German police arrested more than two dozen people on Wednesday in one of the biggest “anti-terror” operations in its history and conducted searches at 150 properties in 11 federal states.
During the searches at 50 properties, the police found weapons and ammunition, including handguns and long guns, Holger Munch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, told ZDF.
He said the authorities had identified 54 suspects who were members or supporters of the “terror group”, adding that investigations would continue in the coming days probably with new searches and arrests.
According to the prosecutors, the far-right terror group had plans to create a nationwide chaos and storm the German parliament by violence and military means with the goal of overthrowing the system in Germany.
The majority of the suspects were followers of the far-right Reichsburger (Reich Citizens) movement, who reject the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany. They believe that the country is governed by members of a so-called “deep state.”