Prosecutors in Germany have arrested a woman who is believed to have co-founded an extreme right-wing terror network that is suspected of killing ten people, including eight Turks, one Greek and a German policewoman.
Beate Zschäpe, 36, turned herself into authorities last week but has refused to cooperate with police.
According to media reports, the terrorist group – called National Socialist Underground -- may have murdered its victims between 2000 and 2007. Two other co-founder of the group, both men, are believed to be dead.
Zschäpe is also suspected of burning down a house her group used in order to destroy incriminating evidence.
German authorities have also arrested another suspect related to the case -- a 37-year-old German man believed to have supported the group financially.
The case has brought back fears of home-grown neo-Nazi type of terrorism in Germany.
On Monday, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of Constitution (a German version of Homeland Security) denied a report in German media that Zschäpe had worked as an informant for the government agency.
According to reports, in the 1990s, Zschäpe and her co-horts were being monitored by the police and the government due to their alleged links to far-right groups in Eastern Germany – apparently, they dropped out of sight by 1998.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told a party conference in Leipzig that the government will do everything possible to investigate the case and unearth the truth behind the murders.
In response to the sensational case, the Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement calling for the protection of Turkish immigrants in Germany – who now number some 4 million.
German media have said the case is an embarrassment to the German government, police and domestic intelligence agencies.
The daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote: It is incomprehensible and deeply disturbing: for years, a racist terrorist gang was able to rampage through Germany and execute immigrants. They were able to plan attacks, build and throw bombs. They were able to do all that because police, intelligence authorities and state prosecutors largely excluded racist motives. The crimes weren't deemed to be acts of terrorism, authorities said they were isolated cases that weren't connected and had no political background. This mistaken judgment reminds one of the 1980s and 1990s when asylum-seekers' hostels went up in flames. Many investigators would first declare the cause as an 'electric short circuit' or as a 'cigarette' or would say 'they're just killing each other.'
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.