Soldiers arrested after MI5 raids on `neo-Nazis'

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The Independent Online
SOLDIERS IN elite regiments have been arrested following an investigation by MI5, the Special Branch and military police into infiltration of the armed forces by neo-Nazis.

A series of raids were made last Friday at 14 addresses as MI5 tried to identify links between the men, the violent fascist group Combat 18 and loyalist terrorist groups in Ulster. It is understood that among items seized were racist tracts, computer discs, knives, and ammunition.

Among those arrested were two soldiers, understood to be with the Parachute and King's regiments. They were taken into custody in Preston, Lancashire, and Bulford, Wiltshire. The other raids were in London, Merseyside, Kent, Thames Valley, Humberside, West Yorkshire, and South Wales.

Friday's raids were co-ordinated by Scotland Yard. A spokesman said: "We can confirm that a number of warrants were executed to seek material including compact discs and publications suspected of contravening Part Three of the Public Order Act 1986 which concerns acts intended or likely to stir up racial hatred.''

An Army spokesman confirmed the arrest of it soldiers, saying: "Two serving soldiers were apprehended as part of this current investigation. The MoD has been fully co-operating with the civilian authorities and the military police assisted with the raids on the two soldiers. It is a civilian investigation and so it is down to the police to decide if there are to be charges against the soldiers."

He added: "There is no home or hiding place for racism in the Army."

No personal details about the men were released. "It could jeopardise the operation," said the spokesman.

Combat 18 is named after the initials of Adolf Hitler, the first and eighth letters in the alphabet. The anti-fascist magazine Searchlight last year obtained MoD documents showing that the Army ordered an in-depth report into neo-Nazi activity in its ranks. It is believed 12 soldiers were identified as belonging to Combat 18.

A dozen other men in regular and Territorial Army units are under investigation for suspected neo-Nazi activity, according to reports last night.