Far-right grouping in European Parliament expels high-flying Alternative for Germany party

BRUSSELS (AP) — A German far-right party set for big gains in upcoming European elections suffered another setback on Thursday when it was expelled from a right-wing group in the European Parliament.

The Identity and Democracy group decided to expel Alternative for Germany from the group with immediate effect, the Italian La Lega party, which is a member of the group, said in a statement. Alternative for Germany said it “acknowledged” the decision.

The move comes amid growing controversy surrounding Alternative for Germany’s lead candidate for the European election, Maximilan Krah.

On Wednesday, the party barred Krah from making any further campaign appearances after he told an Italian newspaper that not all members of the Nazis’ elite SS unit, which was involved in major war crimes during World War II, were war criminals.

Krah had already been under scrutiny after authorities in Brussels searched his offices at the European Parliament in connection with one of his assistants who was arrested last month on suspicion of spying for China.

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