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A view of the Stiftskirche in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany. Two men were arrested on suspicion of planning a New Year's Eve attack in the city center using fireworks and pyrotechnics. Police suspect they belong to a right-wing group and have ruled out a link to Islamists.
A view of the Stiftskirche in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany. Two men were arrested on suspicion of planning a New Year's Eve attack in the city center using fireworks and pyrotechnics. Police suspect they belong to a right-wing group and have ruled out a link to Islamists. (Heather Benit/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — German authorities are investigating whether two men found with more than 300 pounds of illegal fireworks and pyrotechnic materials were planning a New Year’s Eve attack in downtown Kaiserslautern, home to the largest U.S. military presence outside the continental United States.

Prosecutors and police ruled out Islamist extremism and said in a joint statement Tuesday that they were investigating whether the two men, ages 18 and 24, belonged to a right-wing group.

The men, who were arrested two days before New Year’s Eve, denied any intention of causing an explosion in downtown Kaiserslautern, involvement in any such plan or intent to harm others, authorities said.

Police found 110 kilograms (about 240 pounds) of pyrotechnic materials in the home of the 18-year-old in the area of Kusel and 45 kilograms (about 100 pounds) of such materials in the home of the 24-year-old in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, authorities said. Some of the materials were illegally acquired and some homemade.

The two were being held in investigative custody on suspicion of violating the law on explosives and preparations for “a serious act of violence against the state,” according to the prosecutor’s office in Zweibruecken.

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