German police to set up hate crime unit after synagogue plot

Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is to set up a unit to investigate hate crimes, according to a government plan seen by dpa on Wednesday.

The move cames after a right-wing extremist attacked a synagogue in Halle in eastern Germany, killing two people near the building.

As part of the nine-point plan, online platforms will be obliged to inform the BKA unit of content containing death threats or incitement to violence.

Local politicians, paramedics and emergency doctors are to receive stronger legal protection against attacks.

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The plan also includes a provision that would impose tougher punishments for people who stalk others online, and those who subject others to hate speech or abuse.

The plan is still subject to approval by the German parliament, the Bundestag.

On Oct. 9, a 27-year-old German man unsuccessfully tried to force himself inside a synagogue in Halle.

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He then shot a 40-year-old woman in the street and a 20-year-old man in a nearby kebab shop.

“You just have to see the red line between the NSU to Luebcke and Halle and many, many more incidents,’’ said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer while presenting the plan in Berlin.

He was referring to the National Socialist Underground (NSU) targeting Turks in Germany between 2000 and 2006 and the murder in June of Walter Luebcke, a local politician, who backed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open immigration policy.

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