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Home World News Washington Post World News German prosecutors suspect terror in extremist blackout plan

German prosecutors suspect terror in extremist blackout plan

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BERLIN — German federal prosecutors Tuesday took over an investigation into anti-government extremists who allegedly planned to cause a long nationwide blackout and kidnap the health minister, saying there is evidence the group formed a terror organization.

Four German men were arrested on April 13 for their alleged role in the plot, which authorities suspect was aimed at creating “conditions comparable to civil war” and ultimately overthrowing the government and parliamentary democracy.

Federal prosecutors, who handle terrorism and national security cases in Germany, said they will intervene because there is sufficient evidence that the suspects may have founded or been a member of a terrorist organization. The men are also suspected of preparing a serious act of violence and violating gun laws.

Investigators have said the suspects were associated with the protest movement against coronavirus restrictions and with the Reich Citizens movement, which disputes the legitimacy of the German post-World War II constitution and, by extension, the current government.

Authorities said at the time of the arrests the group’s stated aim was to destroy electricity supplies and cause a prolonged power outage across the country as part of its aim to create chaos. Police seized 22 firearms, including a Kalashnikov rifle, along with hundreds of ammunition, thousands of euros in cash and numerous gold bars and silver coins. They also found falsified COVID-19 vaccination and testing certificates.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said earlier this month that the investigation pointed to “a serious terrorist threat” and that the plan to kidnap Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and fantasies of overthrowing democracy “represented a new quality of threat” forms.



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