French police arrest neo-Nazi ‘Jew hunters’ hiding ‘alarming’ weapons in arsenal

French police have uncovered an arsenal of weapons, including machine guns, after arresting four men suspected of belonging to a neo-Nazi group in eastern Alsace, officials said on Friday.

Some 200 officers arrested the men, aged 45 to 53, at their home near Mulhouse on Tuesday after intelligence services determined that members of the group had taken part in a “Jew hunt” during a football match. football in Strasbourg, prosecutor Edwige Roux-Morizot told a press conference. .

They discovered an “alarming” number of firearms – 18 legal and 23 illegal – 167 magazines, 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of gunpowder and materials capable of making explosives, she said.

The bullet equivalent of “at least 120,000 cartridges” was also found, said Lieutenant-Colonel Yann Wanson of the local police unit.

France has stepped up its monitoring of far-right extremists due to an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in recent years, with President Emmanuel Macron visiting a vandalized Jewish cemetery in Alsace in December 2019.

So far, investigators have not determined whether the men were planning an attack, but anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying works have been found and computer equipment is being analyzed, Roux-Morizot said.

They also discovered materials to make balls and more than 25,000 euros ($26,800) in cash.

The suspects are charged with arms trafficking and face up to 10 years in prison.