World Bulletin / News Desk
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency warned Tuesday of a growing threat from far-right groups.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or BfV, said in an annual report that the number of violent offences committed by the right-wing extremists rose by more than 40 percent last year -- from 990 attacks in 2014 to 1,408 in 2015.
Crimes included arson attacks on refugee centers and attempted murder.
By the end of last year, the number of far-right sympathizers across Germany was 22,600, the report said -- 1,600 more than the previous year.
“Social networks play an important role in agitation and radicalization process,” the agency said. “Groups that are purely virtual in the beginning consolidate and become radicalized on the Internet and then carry out actions in the real world.”
The BfV said the recently dismantled far-right The Oldschool Society was an example of these new structures -- a small group formed through social media that later developed plans for terrorist attacks.
“Given the charged atmosphere and the anti-refugee mood, there is a continued risk that similar groups may form or that radicalized individuals may commit serious acts of violence,” the report warned.