German police have stopped a neo-Nazi group which had access to explosives, knives, baseball bats and a gun and was preparing to attack a refugee camp located in the historic German city of Bamberg.
Flags bearing the banned swastika - the symbol of Nazi Germany - memorabilia from the third reich and some Nazi magazines were among the equipment that police found.
Detectives had been observing the 13 members of the group - eleven men and two women - until it was raided by the police which seized illegal firecrackers, a firearm, ammunition and other weapons.
Some of the accused were members of Germany's extremist Die Rechte party, while others supported the local offshoot of the anti-Islam group Pegida, called Nügida.
Police have said that that some of the suspected individuals were “participants and managers” in recent xenophobic demonstrations likely linked to Pegida’s anniversary rally held in Dresden on Monday which drew over 20,000 people.
A spokesperson for the Bamberg public prosecutor has said that the group planned to use explosives on refugee camps, including two illegal one-kilogram firecrackers, allegedly imported from eastern Europe.
Prosecutor Erik Ohlenschlager said that they aimed to "instil fear and terror among asylum-seekers."
Upper Franconia's Deputy Police Chief Werner Mikulasch said that explosives experts found that “ball bombs” were reinforced with materials which could have shattered windows if thrown near the asylum-seekers’ homes, or severely injure or cause death in small spaces.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, visited one of the refugee shelters on Thursday and praised the officers that prevented the attack, saying attacks that could spread “fear and hate” should not be tolerated.
At least five suspects were released following questioning, however some were kept under custody.