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German Special Forces Officer Dies After Raid

A German 32-year-old special forces officer has died of his wounds after being shot during a raid on the home of a man linked to a far-right movement.

Four police were wounded as they tried to arrest a man in the Bavarian town of Georgensgmuend, south of Nuremberg.

The suspect, described as a member of the extremist Reichsbuerger movement, opened fire on the officers before he was eventually detained. Officials said a permit had been revoked for the 31 guns he owned.

Local authorities had called in the police after the man repeatedly refused to co-operate with them. When a special forces team moved in early on Wednesday he began shooting through his door, officials said.

Police confirmed the officer’s death on Thursday, having announced it prematurely late on Wednesday. Another policeman is being treated for serious gunshot wounds. Two others were lightly wounded. The gunman was lightly injured in the exchange.

Reichsbuerger Movement

The Reichsbuerger (“Reich Citizens”) group does not recognise the authority of the post-war German federal republic, seeing it merely as some sort of private company. It believes in the continued existence of a German empire, or Reich, dating back to 1937 or even earlier. Its roots are said to go back some three decades.

Bavarian officials said the group’s ideology was “nationalist and anti-Semitic…. clearly extreme right”. Their circle had grown in recently years, they said, and included “whingers, nutcases, conspiracy theorists, but also the far-right”.

The diversity of beliefs and views within the group militates against a simple hierarchical structure or clear leadership. But the group should not be dismissed simply as an “association of crackpots”, said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann. Some of its members were obviously capable of brutal violence, particularly targeting representatives of the German state, he warned. Others use their rejection in the authority of the German state as grounds to refuse to pay taxes or creditors.