A second German army officer has been arrested for allegedly planning a “false flag” plot to assassinate left-wing politicians in a terror attack to be blamed on refugees in Germany.
Maximilian T, a 27-year-old German national, was arrested in the southwestern city of Kehl after being questioned by military intelligence officers. He was arrested for covering for his friend as he posed as a Syrian refugee. According to a federal prosecutor's spokeswoman, Frauke Kohler, he was arrested on charges of preparing an act of violence.
The arrest follows the apprehension of a German lieutenant, Franco A, who was arrested for posing as a Syrian refugee and allegedly planning a terrorist attack. The authorities also believe he would have attempted to place blame for any attack on Syrian refugees. He had registered himself as a refugee and gave false information to authorities in Giessen, Hesse, on Dec. 30, 2015, as Germany was inundated with the arrival of almost a million asylum seekers.
Kohler further added that the suspects were allegedly planning an attack targeting politicians “who are committed to an immigration and refugee policy which has failed in the view of the defendants.” Potential targets that were on the list include former German President Joachim Gauck and left-wing Justice Minister Heiko Maas.
Prosecutors believe Maximilian T joined Franco A on a trip to Vienna in January where he stored an unregistered gun to be used in the attack at the city’s main airport. It is also believed that Maximilian T was part of the group which is active in spreading extreme-right messages online, including photos and audio files. He also covered up for Franco A for his regular absences at the base.
“Maximilian T is strongly suspected of planning a serious act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction. The resulting absences were at least partly covered up by Maximilian T, who had excused Franco A to his superiors,” said a spokesperson.
Mathias F, a friend from his hometown, was also arrested in April for alleged involvement in the plot. Police raided Mathias F’s home and seized mobile phones, laptops and various documents. They also reportedly found illegal weapons in his house.
“They were willing, or at least claimed to be, to kill for their cause. The three suspects wanted to direct suspicion at asylum seekers living in Germany after the attack. The planned attack was intended to be interpreted by the population as a radical Islamist terrorist attack by a recognized refugee,” said an investigator.
She further added, “Especially with regard to the ongoing public discussion over immigration and refugee policy, an alleged terrorist attack by a registered asylum seeker would have attracted particular attention and contributed to the sense of threat.”
Franco A’s double life was only discovered when he was arrested after returning to retrieve the gun in February. He had obtained a WWII-era Unique Model 17 pistol for the attack, which he hid in a disabled toilet in Vienna International Airport while passing through in January.
If the suspect’s alleged plan had succeeded, his registered fingerprints in the refugee database would have led police into believing his false identity — that of a Syrian migrant — and it would have resulted in further scrutiny of refugees in Germany.
The arrest of soldiers has shocked the country and has raised questions over how Franco A was able to lead a double life for more than a year.