1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German police arrest 18-year-old over far-right attack plot

November 20, 2023

Authorities in the state of Hesse say the man is suspected of planning a "serious state-endangering act of violence" and of violating German firearms laws. Investigations have been running for several months.

Undated symbolic file photo showing a close-up of a uniformed police officer, the insignia shows he's employed by the state of Hesse (Hessen) in Germany.
Law enforcement agencies in the state of Hesse suspect the young man of planning 'an attack on the lives of others' Image: Udo Herrmann/CHROMORANGE/picture alliance

An 18-year-old man is in detention on suspicion of plotting a violent attack, the criminal police office (LKA) for the German state of Hesse and the public prosecutors office in Frankfurt said in a joint statment issued on Monday. 

"The suspicion of preparing a serious state-endangering act of violence and of violating firearms laws stands against him," authorities said. "The 18-year-old repeatedly threatened in pertinent [online] forums to want to kill people for the advancement of his political goals. The existing investigations revealed a hardened, violent, antisemitic and far-right fundamental attitude." 

What authorities said about the investigations

The state of Hesse's interior minister, Peter Beuth, praised investigators on Monday, saying their "professional investigative work" had "already in the opening stages" identified strong indications of plans for an attack. 

Investigations against the teenager had started several months ago, according to authorities. 

Hesse's police searched his home on November 15, seizing weapons and ammunition as well as several digital storage devices like computers and mobile phones. The next day, a juvenile court judge in Frankfurt ordered the suspect be placed in investigative detention. 

"First evaluations of the home search intensified the criminal suspicion," authorities said. "The further evaluation as well as checks for violations of gun laws continue." 

Frankfurt's prosecutors office said it could not answer questions at this point about potential accomplices or a network. 

Far-right attacks in the German state of Hesse

State officials praised the arrest and investigation as a success for a special joint investigation body known by the acronym BAO in German.

This group was set up in no small part as a result of a number of headline-grabbing far-right or racially-motivated violent crimes committed in Hesse in recent years.

In June 2019, a local politician, Walter Lübcke, was killed in his home by a right-wing extremist opposed to his past comments on migration.

The following year, in Hanau, a far-right shooter killed nine people on racial grounds, before killing his mother and finally himself.

And in May this year, a 21-year-old from the state was sentenced to almost four years in prison for planning a terrorist attack which authorities foiled. 

More Germans willing to vote for far-right parties

msh/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.