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20 March 2016

Alternative for Germany (AfD) armed-wing sent death threats to MEPs

Alternative for Germany (AfD) armed-wing sent death threats to MEPs

Several former members of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party received threatening letters from a group calling itself the “AfD Army Faction”.

“We will take revenge for every vote you cost the AfD! Blood! Death to you !” read one of the letters.

Another was signed with “Heil Höcke”, a clear reference to Björn Höcke, a prominent AfD member and the Nazi greeting “Heil Hitler”.

It is not clear whether those behind the letters have any links to the AfD party leadership.

But German police are taking the threats seriously and have launched an investigation.

The AfD stormed to its best ever results in regional elections last week on a platform of opposition to Angela Merkel’s “open-door” refugee policy.

The party first emerged as a Eurosceptic group in 2013 in response to the Eurozone crisis.

But if shifted dramatically to the right and began to focus on immigration after its orginal leader was ousted in a coup last year.

It is not the first time the party has been caught up in controversy.

Frauke Petry, its new leader, called for police to be given the power to shoot asylum-seekers at the border earlier this year.

When asked if that included women and children, she replied: “Yes”.

The threatening letters were sent to former AfD MEPs who left the party in protest at its anti-immigrant stance, demanding they give up their seats.

The AfD won seven seats in the European parliament when it was an anti-Euro party.

But five of those MEPs have since defected to Alfa, a new Eurosceptic party.

Ms Petry has called for them to give their seats back to the AfD.

"Death to you and your weakling Alfa-racemates,” a letter addressed to Hans-Olaf Henkel, one of the most prominent defectors, read.

“P*** off with your a******* party or we’ll clear it up and start with your children,” a letter to Bernd Kölmel, another of the MEPs, read.

“Frauke Petry will be chancellor of a new Germany without you and your s***.”

“The threatening letters are written in the same style and typed with a typewriter,” Mr Kölmel told reporters.

"Someone's probably done them in his basement.”

The AfD has raised alarm with policies including a pledge to reduce the emphasis on teaching the crimes of the Nazis in schools.

It has called for a “zero limit” on asylum-seekers, and for German women to have three children each.

It surged to second place in elections in the state of Saxony-Anhalt last week, and won seats in two other regional parliaments, in what was widely seen as a vote against Mrs Merkel’s refugee policy.