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German soldier held over anti-migrant ‘assassination plot’

German authorities have made another arrest linked to an alleged plot to murder a senior public figure.

The man, a soldier, is accused of conspiring with another army officer who had falsely registered as a Syrian refugee, and a student.

The suspected right-wing extremists wanted to frame refugees for the attack, say prosecutors.

Their alleged targets included former German president Joachim Gauck and Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

The affair has sparked a national debate about right-wing extremism in Germany’s armed forces.

On Sunday, inspections were ordered at every army barracks after Nazi-era memorabilia were found at two of them.

But last week German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen provoked anger after using the alleged plot to accuse the army of an attitude problem.

On Tuesday, German police detained 27-year-old “Maximilian T” in Kehl, across the Rhine river from the French city of Strasbourg.

“The accused is strongly suspected of planning a severe act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Failed policy

The man was stationed at a barracks in France, alongside another man who was arrested in April, 28-year-old “Franco A”.

He was arrested in April, after police discovered he had registered as a Syrian refugee at a shelter in central Germany in December 2015 and later officially requested political asylum in Bavaria.

A student, 24, named as “Mathias F” has also been arrested.

The three “planned an attack against a high-ranking politician or public figure who was supportive of what the accused saw as the failed immigration and refugee affairs policies”, prosecutors said.

They had drawn up a hit list and acquired a pistol for Franco A to carry out the attack, they said. Maximilian covered up his accomplice’s absences from barracks in pursuit of the plot, prosecutors suspect.

The country has experienced a backlash against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open-door” policy which saw Germany take in more than one million asylum seekers in 2015.

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