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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Soldier Arrested for Right-Wing Attack

POTSDAM, Germany -- A German soldier with apparent radical-right leanings has been arrested and two other suspects are being sought for allegedly beating two Italians with baseball bats, an official said Tuesday.


Hans Otto Braeutigam, justice minister for Brandenburg, voiced dismay over a spree of right-wing attacks in that east German state last week.


A gang of young Germans wielding baseball bats attacked two Italian workers in Trebbin, a town near Potsdam, last Monday. One of the victims is hospitalized in a coma with a fractured skull.


Braeutigam said a 22-year-old soldier was arrested after the attack, has confessed and will be charged with attempted murder. Two other suspects are being sought, Braeutigam said.


On Thursday, young men shouting "Smoke out the foreigners'' raided a Trebbin pizzeria known as a hangout for non-Germans and smashed the interior. Police say they have arrested five suspects, all of them with records of right-wing violence.


Also last week, young men beat up a 26-year-old Kenyan in Potsdam and attacked an asylum seeker from Turkey on a train. Police arrested two 17-year-olds in the attack on the Kenyan.


A 28-year-old man from Gambia was beaten and robbed by four youths last Thursday in Magdeburg in neighboring Saxony-Anhalt state.


Braeutigam said Brandenburg must show that it is fighting anti-foreigner violence "with the full force of the law.''


"I hope that the investigations are completed as soon as possible and that suspects will be charged,'' he said.


He voiced concern that the attacks had led to bad publicity in the Italian press.


Anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic violence in Germany has fallen steadily from a post-unification peak in 1992. But last year, federal authorities still recorded an average of 70 right-wing attacks a month.