Germany banned the neo-Nazi group “White Wolves Terror Crew” (WWT) on Wednesday following raids in 10 states, targeting 16 leaders of the group.
Police confiscated weapons, propaganda leaflets and hard drives against the right-wing group which is accused of wanting to establish a Nazi-style dictatorship.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced the ban on the group with an inner circle of about 25 members, saying that they had violently confronted the police and political opponents, and planned attacks on refugee shelters.
Police say that attacks on refugee shelters are increasing and right-wing sympathisers are responsible for almost all of them.
"This is a group of neo-Nazis who spew hate openly against our country, against our society, against people with different political opinions, against migrants and also against police," the minister said.
He added that “the ban is a clear and strong signal against far-right extremism and an important measure against hatred and incitement in Germany.”
In January, the government banned a far-right Internet platform called Altermedia Deutschland because it accused it of spreading “racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Islamic content.”
The same month, German prosecutors charged three men and one woman with forming another far-right group and planning to bomb a refugee shelter.
According to the country’s domestic intelligence agency, WWT had been active across Germany since 2014.
It was founded in 2008 as a fan-club of the extreme right skinhead band Weisse Woelfe, and police had already carried out raids against its members in 2009, and in 2012 federal prosecutors launched proceedings against it over charges that it was a terror organisation.
Its members have been seen shouting “Sieg Heil” and giving the Nazi salute. They were also seen holding banners reading: "Achieve national socialism with all means."
"With today's ban I am sending this message: the security authorities are taking strong action against extremism -- regardless of which (political) direction it is leaning and whether the group is big or small," De Maiziere said.