Far-Right Politician Seriously Injured in Politically Motivated Assault by Masked Attackers

A far-right politician in Germany was seriously hurt after being attacked by three masked men in what police believe was a politically motivated assault.

Frank Magnitz, 66, is the leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party in the northern city of Bremen. He was left unconscious after being ambushed by his assailants on Monday evening, the BBC reported.

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Jörg Meuthen, the party’s federal chairman, tweeted a graphic image showing Magnitz lying in the hospital with a deep gash on his head and other visible injuries to his face.

Police are hunting for the three people they believe carried out the attack. Authorities have said they have little doubt the assault was politically motivated.

AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland said the attack was a “cowardly bloody deed,” while Alice Weidel—the party leader in the German parliament—blamed the media and opposition politicians for stoking hatred of the AfD “on a daily basis,” The Guardian reported.

Police said Magnitz was on his way home from a New Year’s reception at a local newspaper when the attacked occurred. He was beaten to the ground and knocked unconscious with a wooden implement. As he lay on the ground, the attackers kicked him in the head.

A construction worker passing by intervened, and the assailants fled. The Bremen office of the AfD praised Magnitz’s rescuer for his “courageous intervention” and suggested he saved the politician’s life.

Police have been stationed outside Magnitz’s hospital room to protect him against further attacks and to interview him as soon as he is able to speak with officers, The Guardian explained.

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum condemned the attack. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, of the center-left Social Democratic Party, tweeted: “Violence should never be a means for political disputes—totally regardless against whom or what the motives for it are. Whoever carries out such a crime has to be punished accordingly.”

Green Party politician Cem Özdemir tweeted, “Even towards the AfD there is no justification for violence,” He added, “Whoever fights hatred with hatred ultimately allows hatred to win.”

The assault is the latest in a string of attacks targeting the AfD, which in autumn 2017 became the third largest party in the nation’s parliament. The far-right, anti-immigration party has been branded racist and neo-Nazi by its critics, though supporters say they are patriots standing up for traditional German values.

Last week, an AfD office in the eastern town of Döbeln was damaged by an explosive device, though no one was injured. Elsewhere, party offices have been targeted by vandals in the eastern state of Saxony, Deutsche Welle noted.

Magnitz is one of the AfD’s 91 members of parliament. He has said he formerly supported the party of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic Union, but he changed allegiances over her immigration policy.

He has previously denied being racist, noting that his wife is of Turkish origin. “In my world, being cosmopolitan does not preclude a love of one’s homeland and patriotism,” he wrote in September, according to The Guardian.

AfD Germany attack A member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party arrives at the AfD congress in Magdeburg, Germany, on November 17. A far-right AfD politician in Germany was seriously hurt after being attacked by three masked men in what police believe was a politically motivated assault. Ronny Hartmann/Getty Images

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