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MUNICH – German authorities blame the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground for a string of violent crimes including the racially motivated killing of nine men, the killing of a policewoman, two bombings and more than a dozen bank robberies over a period of almost 14 years.
Here is a brief history of the group:
Early 1990s — Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Boehnhardt and Beate Zschaepe befriend each other in the eastern town of Jena at a time when far-right ideas were on the rise in the formerly communist part of recently reunited Germany.
January 1998 — The trio goes on the run from police to avoid arrest over a bomb-making workshop in Jena. By late 1998, they decide to carry out ideologically motivate killings to intimidate ethnic minorities and destabilize the German state.
September 2000 — Mundlos and Boehnhardt kill Enver Simsek, a flower seller of Turkish origin, in the southern city of Nuremberg. He is the first of nine men with migrant backgrounds killed by the NSU.
January 2001 — A bomb disguised as a Christmas present explodes in an Iranian family's grocery store in the western city of Cologne, seriously injuring the owners' daughter.
June 2001 — Abdurrahim Ozudogru, a Turkish tailor, is shot dead in his store in Nuremberg. Days later, Turkish grocer Suleyman Taskopru is killed in Hamburg.
August 2001 — Turkish grocer Habil Kilic is killed in Munich.
February 2004 — Mehmet Turgut, who runs a Turkish kebab restaurant in the northern city of Rostock, is shot dead.
June 2004 — 23 people are injured, some seriously, when a bomb packed with 800 nails explodes on a busy shopping street in Cologne frequented by migrants.
June 2005 — Turkish restaurant owner Ismail Yasar is shot dead in Nuremberg. Days later, Theodoros Boulgarides, who recently opened a key-cutting store in Munich, is shot dead.
April 2006 — Mehmet Kubasik, who runs a kiosk in the western city of Dortmund, is killed. Two days later Halit Yozgat is shot dead in his internet cafe in the central city of Kassel.
April 2007 — Police officer Michele Kiesewetter is killed in Heilbronn. Her colleague is seriously injured. Their firearms are stolen.
November 2011 — After robbing a bank in the central city of Eisenach, Mundlos and Boehnhardt are found dead in a camper van in an apparent murder-suicide. Zschaepe sets fire to their hideout in the nearby town of Zwickau and mails videos featuring a Pink Panther cartoon character to the media in which the NSU claims responsibility for the killings.
July 2012 — The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Heinz Fromm, resigns following a public outcry over his agency's shredding of documents related to the NSU case.
May 2013 — The trial of Beate Zschaepe and four men accused of providing support to the NSU begins in Munich.
December 2015 — Zschaepe's lawyers read a statement on her behalf, in which she acknowledges knowing of the bank robberies and to setting fire to the hideout in Zwickau. She says she only ever learned of the killings and bombings after they had happened.
July 2018 — The trial, involving 73 lawyers and hundreds of witnesses, concludes after almost 440 days of hearings. Zschaepe is sentenced to life in prison. The group's four supporters receive lesser prison sentences of between 2½ and 10 years.