Germany bans neo-Nazi Northern Eagle group

Police raid locations in four German states linked to online promotion of hateful ideology

epa08503154 Police officers search a mosque in Tempelhof district, Berlin, Germany, 23 June 2020. According to the Berlin Attorney General, investigators from the State Criminal Police Office in Berlin are searching several properties, including a mosque in Berlin for evidence of subsidy fraud related to coronavirus pandemic payments.  EPA/HAYOUNG JEON
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The German interior ministry has banned the far-right group Nordadler, launching police raids on sites linked to the neo-Nazi organisation on Tuesday morning.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced the ban, the third targeting neo-Nazi groups this year, and his office said police had hit locations in four German states.

Nordadler, which means ‘Northern Eagle’, operates mainly online and uses the symbols and language of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich to voice nostalgia for the Nazi regime and back anti-Semitism.

The group uses social media channels including Telegram, Instagram and Discord to promote its ideology, win new members and condone attacks such as the shooting at a synagogue in Halle last year.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer talks to the press as he visits the location of riots in Stuttgart, southern Germany on June 22, 2020. In the early hours of Sunday, June 21, 2020, hundreds of people ran riot in Stuttgart's city centre throwing stones and bottles at police and plundering stores after smashing shop windows. / AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has promised to crack down on far-right extremism. AFP

Nordadler, which had plans to set up a neo-Nazi community in the German countryside, expressed support for the Halle attacker, who admitted to anti-Semitic and far-right motives.

"From this morning, police measures are under way in four regional states," a ministry spokesman said on Twitter.

"Right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism no longer have a place on the internet," spokesman Steve Alter said.

After the attack in Halle and the killing of a pro-refugee politician from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party last year, Mr Seehofer gave a warning that far-right extremism was the "biggest security threat facing Germany".

Last February another gunman killed nine people of immigrant origin in the central town of Hanau.

The interior minister has promised tougher security measures, including a crackdown on online hate speech.