BERLIN - A German neo-Nazi cell that waged a racist killing spree over a period of seven years without being detected by the authorities may have had a far bigger network of supporters than initially thought.
According to a report in the Bild newspaper on Sunday, security officials have compiled a list of 129 people who are suspected of helping the group, accused of murdering eight ethnic Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.
The existence of the cell, which called itself the Nationalist Socialist Underground (NSU), only came to light by chance in late 2011 after two members committed suicide in the aftermath of a botched bank robbery and a female accomplice set fire to an apartment used by the gang.
Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were horrified by the revelations and Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims.
But until now, officials have put the blame on a very small group, based in the eastern city of Zwickau.
"The new number is shockingly high," Sebastian Edathy, chairman of a special parliamentary committee set up to probe the NSU, told Bild, confirming the list. "Now we have to clear up whether any of these people knew about the crimes or were informants."