Breaking News -- Germany
|Berlin Orders Massive Army Probe After Discovery of Nazi
Memorabilia at Barracks
The head of Germany’s armed forces has ordered an inspection of all army properties after investigators probing far-right supporters within the Bundeswehr found Nazi memorabilia at a barracks in the town of Donaueschingen, in the country’s southwest.
The discovery of a barracks decorated with military awards, propaganda posters and steel helmets dating back to the Wehrmacht era adds to an unfolding scandal revolving around right-wing extremism among German soldiers.
The probe was launched after similar Nazi-related items, including replicas of Nazi-era machine guns and pistols, were uncovered in the garrison of a 28-year-old army officer identified as Franco Albrecht, who was arrested on suspicion of disguising as a Syrian asylum seeker and plotting racially motivated attacks on refugees.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week as she visited barracks in the French town of Illkirch where Albrecht was stationed that she would not tolerate any veneration of the Nazi Wehrmacht in Germany's modern army.
This is not the first time Illkirch has found itself at the center of a Nazi-related scandal. In 2012, three soldiers were dismissed after they laid out a four-meter long swastika on the grounds to celebrate their soccer team's victory.
Displaying the swastika in all possible variants is illegal in modern Germany.
The German army said last month that it was probing 275 suspected cases of right-wing extremism within its ranks. Most of the cases were related to propaganda crimes and racist commentary on the internet.
Meanwhile, preparations are underway in Russia for one of the country's most popular holidays, Victory Day, celebrated on May 9. The holiday marks the 1945 capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War.
On this day celebrations and commemorative events are held all across Russia, with a spectacular military parade taking place in in Moscow's Red Square.
Isil bomb maker at large in Germany after he's caught saying 'the explosives are ready', according to report
by Justin Huggler
Police in Germany are reportedly searching for an Islamic State bombmaker believed to be at large in the country.
Intelligence services have intercepted phone calls from the wanted man in which he speaks of explosives being ready, but have been unable to identify him, according to Bild newspaper.
Authorities have refused to comment on the report.
Details of the suspect have only emerged in the wake of a bomb attack on a Borussia Dortmund team bus last month.
Although a Russian-born German citizen has since been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack to profit on selling shares in the club, police initially believed it was the work of an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil) terror cell, according to Bild.
An Iraqi man named only as Abdul Baset A under German privacy laws was arrested in the immediate wake of the attack, but prosecutors said they had no evidence to link him with it.
Instead he is being held on charges of serving as an Isil commander in Iraq before he came to Germany in 2014.
German parliament moves to partially ban the burka
Members of the lower house of parliament in Germany have approved a law that partially bans the full-face Islamic veil known as the burka.
The bill will now go to the upper house for approval. Civil servants, judges and soldiers will be prevented from wearing burkas at work.
Right-wing parties had been pushing for a total burka ban in public places.
More than a million migrants, including many Middle Eastern Muslims, have gone to Germany over the past 18 months.
There have been several jihadist attacks, including a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives.
The burka is a strict Muslim veil for women that covers the full head and body. Not many people in Germany wear it.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the move to ban the burka showed how far tolerance towards other cultures would go in Germany.
Right-wing parties want Germany to emulate France where a total ban on wearing burkas in public places as has been in force since 2011.
Last December Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a ban on full-face veils wherever legally possible, saying they were not appropriate in her country.
In February, the state of Bavaria announced plans to ban the full-face veil in government workplaces, schools, universities and while driving.
Critics argued the ban will have little practical impact in a state with only a small number of Muslims.
Rising number of bans
Germany has not pursued a total ban on full-face veils as it is acknowledged this would violate its constitution.
There has been a rise in the number of European nations banning the full-face veil over recent years.
France, Austria, Belgium and Turkey have all imposed a ban in certain public spaces.
Legislation supporting a ban is in progress in the Netherlands, while local bans apply in other nations including Denmark, Russia, Spain and Switzerland.
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