BERLIN: An elite German anti-terror unit carried out dawn raids Tuesday to capture five right-wing extremist suspects accused of attacking refugee shelters and political opponents, federal prosecutors said.
The suspects, four men and a woman, are accused of belonging to a far-right terrorist organisation called Freital Group, named after an eastern town that has seen a rash of racist protests that shocked the country.
"According to preliminary investigations, the aim of the group was to carry out explosives attacks on homes for asylum seekers as well as the homes of political enemies," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.
It said the suspects stockpiled hundreds of fireworks from the Czech Republic to use in attacks.
The assaults included using fireworks to blow out the windows of the kitchen of a refugee shelter in Freital in September 2015.
"The residents of the home only escaped injury from the flying shards of the shattered glass pane because no one was in the kitchen at the time," the prosecutor's office said.
A second attack the following month blamed on the group involved suspects hurling fireworks and stones at a building housing leftist activists. No one was injured.
Prosecutors said that the cell also attacked another refugee shelter in Freital in November last year, where a resident suffered cuts to his face from flying glass.
They said the investigation would seek to determine if the organisation was responsible for further violence.
Small towns in the eastern state of Saxony such as Freital earned nationwide notoriety last year as groups of neo-Nazis and angry residents hurled abuse at people fleeing war and misery -- and rocks at police sent to protect those seeking a safe haven.
Federal police in 2015 recorded more than 800 attacks on refugee shelters in Germany, which let in nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers last year. Most of the attacks were concentrated in the former communist east of the country.