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Israel soldier arrested for neo nazi links

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Israeli soldier arrested for neo-Nazi links
05 May 2005 17:08:40 GMT

Source: Reuters

JERUSALEM, May 5 (Reuters) - An Israeli soldier was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of links to neo-Nazi groups abroad, the first case of its kind in the Jewish state, which was founded as a haven for victims of the Holocaust.

A police spokesman said the suspect, a 20-year-old army conscript who recently immigrated from the former Soviet Union although he does not identify himself as Jewish, was first taken into custody on drug charges. Under interrogation, he told police he was a Nazi.

"The probe deepened from there. We found correspondence with foreign neo-Nazi groups on the suspect's computer. He also has a swastika tattoo," the police spokesman said.

"This is a serious crime, one we have not had before. We are in touch with the Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry to see how to proceed with the case," he said.

The arrest came as Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two. "It is pure coincidence," the police official said.

Israel has taken in hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking immigrants under laws admitting those who have at least one Jewish grandparent or are married to Jews -- criteria the Nazis applied during their World War Two genocide.

The police spokesman said the soldier told investigators he was Christian. Media reports said the Interior Ministry had launched an inquiry to determine whether he had immigrated fraudulently, and that he could be stripped of his citizenship.

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