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Police Foil Plot to Kidnap Germany's Health Minister

Police Foil Plot to Kidnap Germany's Health Minister

Thursday, 14 April, 2022 - 09:45
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Berlin, Germany December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

German police have detained four German nationals suspected of plotting to kidnap German health minister Karl Lauterbach and destroy power facilities to cause a nationwide power outage.

"The two main suspects are believed to have agreed with others to mount an attack on the federal health minister," a spokesperson for the Koblenz prosecutor's office said on Thursday, confirming a report by German broadcaster ARD.

The suspects detained this week were affiliated with groups that protested against COVID-19 restrictions, and with the far-right "Reichsbuerger" movement, which denies the existence of the modern German state, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The plot to kidnap Lauterbach is the latest in a series of incidents that have highlighted the anger of some Germans over restrictions on people not vaccinated against the coronavirus and proposals to make vaccination compulsory for the general public, Reuters reported

In December, police foiled a plot by anti-vaccination activists to murder the state premier of Saxony in eastern Germany.

The suspects behind the latest plot communicated in a chat group called Vereinte Patrioten, German for United Patriots, and "intended to cause civil war-like conditions and ultimately overthrow the democratic system in Germany", the prosecutor's office said.

Authorities searched 20 properties in several German states on Wednesday, confiscating weapons including guns, ammunition and a Kalashnikov assault rifle, cash in euros and foreign currency as well as gold bars and silver coins.

They also found forged vaccination certificates and COVID tests, the office said.

The office has asked a judge to issue arrest warrants for the four detained suspects. A fifth suspect is at large.

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