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Germany launches huge probe into unsolved killings possibly linked to far-right extremists

German authorities are investigating whether hundreds of unsolved killings and attempted killings over the past two decades were committed by neo-Nazis.

The 746 cases with no known suspects involved 849 victims and took place between 1990 and 2011. The period spans the time between German reunification and the discovery of a neo-Nazi cell suspected of committing 10 murders.

That prompted a fundamental review of how German security services deal with far-right crimes.

Interior Ministry spokesman Hendrik Loerges confirmed the probe first reported Wednesday by Germany's Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper.

Independent researchers and anti-racism campaigners have long criticized the criteria used by German authorities to classify a crime as being motivated by far-right ideology.

Currently some 63 cases during the 21-year period are classified as far-right crimes.