German police arrest five people suspected of forming far-right militant group and planning bomb attacks on refugees

German police secure the main train station in Munich, Germany, January 1, 2016.
German police secure the main train station in Munich, Germany, January 1, 2016. (TRT World and Agencies)

German police arrested five people near Dresden on Tuesday who they suspected of forming a far-right militant group and preparing attacks on refugees using explosives, the public prosecutor's office said.

Over 200 police and state officials were involved in the swoop to arrest five German nationals, four men and a woman aged between 18 and 39, who are suspected of plotting to bomb shelters housing asylum seekers. Several apartments in the state of Saxony were searched as well.

Federal prosecutors said that the "Freital Group," named after a suburb of the eastern city of Dresden that has seen a string of anti-refugee protests and other incidents, was formed in July 2015 or earlier.

The group acquired more than 100 firecrackers of various types from the Czech Republic, prosecutors said in a statement.

They said members are believed to have carried out three attacks in September and October - two on refugee homes in Freital and the other on a left-wing housing project in Dresden in which windows were blown out and one asylum-seeker suffered cuts to the face.

Prosecutors are looking into whether they were behind any further attacks. The suspects were identified only as Justin S, Rico K, Maria K, Sebastian W and Mike S in line with German privacy rules.

As well as membership in a terrorist organisation, they are also suspected of offences including attempted murder, bodily harm and causing explosions.

Three other men including the group's two alleged leaders are suspected of co-founding the "Freital Group" and are already in custody on suspicion of causing an explosion.

Germany saw a surge in far-right attacks over the past year amid a huge influx of refugees.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies