German police yesterday arrested a suspected member of a neo-Nazi terrorist gang held responsible for a hitherto unexplained series of murders and bomb attacks in which a policewoman and nine immigrant kebab stall owners were killed.
Intelligence officials have described the string of murders and bomb blasts, which had baffled police for 11 years, as Germany's "worst case of right-wing violence in decades" and there were renewed calls yesterday for the government to ban the country's neo-Nazi National Democratic Party.
The suspect, a 37-year-old man named only as Holger G, was arrested early yesterday near Hanover. Police said he was thought to be a member of the "National Socialist Underground" terror group and was believed to have supplied three other gang members with a driving licence and passport. The arrest followed a police raid last week in the east German city of Zwickau, where the bodies of gang members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, both in their thirties, were discovered in a caravan. Police say they probably committed suicide.
A third suspect, a 36-year-old woman identified as Beate Zschäpe, surrendered to police after blowing up the flat where she had been living in an attempt to destroy incriminating evidence. However, investigators found a Ceska pistol in the ruins, which ballistics experts linked to the murders of one Greek and eight Turkish kebab sellers in incidents throughout Germany from 2000.
The gang is also thought to have been behind a bomb blast at Düsseldorf railway station in 2000, in which several Jews from the former Soviet Union were hurt.