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2020.06.26 15:15

Neo-Nazi suspect attempted a terror attack in Lithuania, police says

updated
BNS, LRT.lt2020.06.26 15:15

Police in Lithuania arrested a neo-Nazi suspect last year who tried to commit a terror attack, the country’s prosecutors said on Friday.

A pre-trial was launched in October 2019 when an improvised explosive device was found next to the Western Union offices in the Lithuanian capital. The suspect had sprayed FK DIVISION and SIEGE graffiti, as well as a swastika.

Lithuania’s anti-terror police unit, ARAS, neutralised the device which was found to contain an equivalent of 2.5 kilograms of explosives. The explosion would have shattered windows as far as several hundred metres away, according to police.

Read more: Far-right radicalism ‘more dangerous’ than terrorism in Lithuania

The suspect is a Lithuanian national born in 1999. According to the investigation, he is aligned with the neo-Nazi Feurkrieg Division group.

In recent years, law enforcement across the world have largely dismantled the extremist group, which adheres to the writings of a known American neo-Nazi, James Mason.

During the police raids, a large amount of explosives were found belonging to the suspect, as well as other chemicals that can be used to manufacture explosive devices.

An improvised firearm was also found, as well as other gun parts that are prohibited by Lithuanian laws.

Various other extremist symbols and literature, including Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamp, were confiscated during the police searches.

The suspect faces 10 years in prison.

Serious damage

Head of Lithuania’s ARAS, Viktoras Grabauskas, said if the device had gone off, it would have inflicted serious damage.

The device failed to explode due to “a lack of knowledge” by the suspect, he added. The explosive device was manufactured according to instructions published online by terrorists, said Grabauskas.

Suspect was under surveillance

Lithuanian police said the person had already been under surveillance for his redical views. There are no other suspects in the investigation.

“Of course we are always monitoring [...] the internet ad we see ultra ring-wing movements [and] activities, and certain preventative measures are being applied,” Arūnas Paulauskas from the Lithuanian general commissariat told reporters on Friday.

“The motive [...] was a form of protest against the global order, globalism,” said Paulauskas, adding that it likely formed the basis for targeting the Western Union building.

The suspect planned to commit other acts of terror, he added.

Rolandas Kiškis, from the criminal police unit, said the device was laid at night, but was intended to go off in daytime when there would have been people present at the site.

The suspect was a student in Vilnius, but had already dropped out at the time of the attempted attack.

Kiškis said “it’s a fact” he was in touch with people from abroad.

Domestic terrorism level remains low

Lithuania’s intelligence service, the State Security Department (VSD), said the threat of a terror attack in the country remains low.

This year, there have been no reports about extremist organisations or lone actors aiming to commit attacks, according to the VSD.