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Germany Sees Right-Wing Extremism as Top Security Threat

Police officers are standing in front of an apartment building in Erfurt, Germany, Jan. 23, 2020. Germany's top security official has announced a ban on the neo-Nazi group 'Combat 18' Deutschland.

Germany’s interior minister said Thursday right-wing extremism represents the biggest security threat to the nation, as Germany saw a significant increase far-right activities in the past year.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer made the comments as he presented the annual report on extremism in Germany to reporters in Berlin. He said the report estimates the number of right-wing extremists in the country at 32,080 last year, an increase of almost 8,000 from 2018.

Seehofer said “The number of offenses, the number of members of these right-wing extremist groups and the number of violent right-wing extremists has continued to rise."

Seehofer oversees Germany’s domestic intelligence Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which compiles the security report each year. The 2019 report includes for the first time some 7,000 members of the Alternative for Germany party's youth section and a radical faction known as The Wing.

Both have come under heightened scrutiny from the BfV due to their perceived extremist tendencies.

German authorities cite the killing of a regional politician by a suspected neo-Nazi, an attack on a synagogue in Halle and the fatal shooting of nine people in Hanau over the past year as notable examples of right-wing violence.

The number of far-left extremists increased by 1,500 to 33,500 last year, according to the report. More than two-thirds of those are classified as "not violence-oriented."

The report also counts about 28,020 people in Germany with Islamist tendencies, up from 26,560 in 2018.