BERLIN -- Police arrested a suspect yesterday following the discovery of an extremist group believed to have killed 10 people in what Germany's top security official called "a new form of far-right terrorism."
The suspect, identified in line with German privacy laws only as Holger G., 37, was arrested on suspicion of belonging to the National Socialist Underground, which prosecutors labeled a terrorist organization.
The group, discovered only last week, is suspected of having murdered eight people of Turkish origin, a Greek national and a German policewoman over the past decade.
"Now it is all about finding out whether . . . more people were involved, whether there's a network, finding out which dimension all this has," Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told reporters in Berlin.
Friedrich said the case was unusual because the group did not publicly claim responsibility or vaunt its actions within the far-right scene.
"It is shocking," Chancellor Angela Merkel told public broadcaster ARD on the eve of her party's annual convention in the eastern city of Leipzig. "It is shameful that something like this happened in our country."
The man in custody is believed to have helped three others, providing documents and vehicles, one of which was apparently used in the killing of a police officer. Two of the other group members are dead, while the third turned herself in to police last week.
The nine civilian victims were businessmen -- including a flower wholesaler, a tailor and kebab stall owners -- who were shot at their workplaces.
"It was assumed that it must be about organized crime or possibly racketeering," Friedrich said.
The 2007 Heilbronn killing of a 22-year-old policewoman has long been a mystery. She was shot in the head in a park and a fellow officer was wounded.
Last week, both officers' service weapons were discovered in a burning mobile home where two men were found dead, in what police said was an apparent suicide. The pistol used in the earlier killings was found at the men's apartment in the eastern city of Zwickau, which also burned out last week following an explosion.
The two men, identified only as Uwe B. and Uwe M., are believed to have had links to far-right circles at the end of the 1990s -- along with a female acquaintance, identified as Beate Z., who turned herself in to police on Tuesday.