BERLIN (Reuters) – German police have detained four German nationals suspected of having plotted to kidnap German health minister Karl Lauterbach and destroy power facilities to cause a nationwide power outage.
“The two main suspects are to have agreed with others to attack the federal health minister,” a spokesperson for the Koblenz prosecutor’s office said on Thursday, confirming a report by German broadcaster ARD.
The group behind a chat group Vereinte Patrioten – German for United Patriots – “intended to cause civil war-like conditions and ultimately overthrow the democratic system in Germany”, the prosecutor’s office earlier said in a statement.
It said authorities had 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.
The prosecutor’s office said the group had also planned to kidnap other well-known public figures but did not say who the targets were.
It has asked a judge to issue arrest warrants for the four detained suspects. A fifth suspect is still at large.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)