German police officers carry an image of their colleague Rouven Laur who got killed following a knife attack by an Afghan asylum seeker at a far right-wing information stand at the central market of the city of Mannheim on May 31, in Mannheim, June 14, 2024. Image Credit: REUTERS

BERLIN: A record number of politically motivated crimes occurred in Germany last year, fuelled partly by global events including the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, according to a report published on Tuesday.

Authorities registered 60,028 politically motivated offences in 2023, up from 58,916 the previous year, the report from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said.

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Around 25,660 of the crimes were committed by right-wing extremists, an increase of 22.4 per cent from 2022.

“Since Russia launched attacks on Ukraine in February 2022, right-wing extremists have used the resulting economic upheaval... in political campaigns and calls for mobilisation,” the report said.

Crimes committed by left-wing extremists rose by 10.4 per cent, though their number was much smaller at 4,248.

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There was also a surge in anti-Semitic crimes, which jumped to 492 from just 33 the previous year.

The vast majority were committed after October 7, 2023, when an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel triggered a relentless Israeli military offensive on Gaza.

“The terrible escalation in the Middle East following the terror against Israel is unfortunately also having an impact on us,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said when she presented the report.

Germany is also seeing an increased security threat from foreign powers in the form of spying, sabotage, disinformation and cyberattacks, Faeser said.

“Russia, China and Iran in particular are using their intelligence services extensively for espionage against Germany,” she said.

Faeser singled out “massive hybrid threats” from Russia as the biggest external danger for Germany.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats and the opposition conservatives have both recently been targeted by cyberattacks blamed on Russia.

German prosecutors have also launched an investigation into how a secret army conversation on the Ukraine war was wiretapped and ended up on Russian social media.

In April, two German-Russian men were arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia and planning attacks in Germany - including on US army targets - to undermine military support for Ukraine.