German far-right group planned Christchurch-style mosque attacks

A policeman patrols as delegates and religious leaders wait to enter Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch on March 23, 2019. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 February 2020

German far-right group planned Christchurch-style mosque attacks

  • The group, 12 of whom were detained on Friday, wanted to attack Muslim places of worship during prayers
  • The alleged leader of the group, which was known to the authorities and had been under observation, had detailed his plans at a meeting organized with his accomplices last week

BERLIN: Members of a far-right group arrested in Germany as part of a massive counter-terrorism investigation were planning large-scale attacks on mosques similar to the ones carried out in New Zealand last year, media reported on Sunday.

The group, 12 of whom were detained on Friday, wanted to attack Muslim places of worship during prayers, Der Spiegel magazine and the daily Bild said.

They planned to imitate the attacks in Christchurch in New Zealand in which 51 people were killed at two mosques and intended to use semi-automatic weapons.

The alleged leader of the group, which was known to the authorities and had been under observation, had detailed his plans at a meeting organized with his accomplices last week.

Investigators learned about it from someone who had infiltrated the group, the two publications said.

Investigators launched the raids to determine whether the suspects already had weapons or other supplies that could be used in an attack.

German authorities have turned increased attention to the country’s underground extreme right scene since the murder of conservative local politician Walter Luebcke last June and an October attack on a synagogue in eastern city Halle.


UK testing ibuprofen as coronavirus treatment

Updated 12 min 51 sec ago

UK testing ibuprofen as coronavirus treatment

  • Anti-inflammatory properties of the drug could treat breathing difficulties

LONDON: Scientists in London are running a drugs trial to test if ibuprofen is an effective treatment for hospital patients with COVID-19.

The teams at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s hospital and researchers from King’s College London believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of the drug could treat breathing difficulties.

Struggling with breathing, and the demand on ventilators in intensive care units, have been two major challenges regarding COVID-19. Researchers hope that the low-cost painkiller could reduce the reliance on ventilators.

The trial, called Liberate, will treat half the patients with ibuprofen on top of their usual care. The researchers will use a special formulation of ibuprofen that some people already take for arthritis.

Previous studies in animals have shown that it might treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is one of the complications caused by severe COVID-19 infections.

Prof. Mitul Mehta from the King’s College London team said: “We need to do a trial to show that the evidence actually matches what we expect to happen.”

At the onset of the pandemic, there were concerns that ibuprofen would aggravate the infection, with French Health Minister Oliver Veran advising patients to take paracetamol instead.