THE NEO-NAZI bomb maker scurried out from his Mallorcan villa hideout over to the bins where the police officers lay in wait.
Wanted throughout Europe, the 28-year-old terrorist had tried to maim and kill hundreds with a pipe bomb in the small German town of Burglengenfeld.
Michael Leopold Stiegler hid in the tourist town of Peguera, only venturing out to dump his rubbish which is when the Guardia Civil made their move.
Though Stiegler is now in custody awaiting extradition to Germany, the far-right hate-filled ‘trash’ that inspired him continues to litter the globe and fester.
Stiegler is believed to be a member of the staunchly neo-Nazi Reichsbuerger movement, a desperate collective of unapologetic racists and anti semites.
The self styled ‘Citizens of the Reich’ refuse to accept that the German Reich was abolished at the end of World War Two.
The growing movement had 16,500 supporters in 2018, including a former ‘Mister Germany’ winner who has been charged with the attempted murder of a policeman.
Fortunately in Stiegler’s case the bomb in Burglengenfeld did not explode and was spotted by relieved residents.
Explosive experts later found the powerful device had been made with gunpowder and mercury, the latter added to inflict even greater devastation.
The resurgence of extreme right-wing terrorism has now reached Mallorca’s idyllic coastline and following Stiegler’s arrest, police spoke openly about their ‘growing concern’.
Violent nationalist groups have been on the march throughout Europe thanks to growing discontent in the wake of the financial and migrant crisis.
According to Interpol, the number of individuals arrested in relation to right-wing terrorism offences almost doubled in 2017.
In Spain, the rise of Vox has seen far right extremism break into mainstream politics for the first time since the death of General Franco.
Vox whipped up fears over crime and immigration along the way to their electoral breakthrough performance in Andalucia’s last regional elections.
The surge comes as right-wing anti-establishment parties have made electoral gains such as France’s Front National, Italy’s The League and the Freedom Party in Austria.
The radical right-wing party won 12 of the 109 seats in Andalucia and became the kingmakers in the People’s Party taking power, ending a decade of PSOE control.
When in power, Vox plans to deport all illegal immigrants, build a Trump-like wall around Spain’s north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and reclaim Gibraltar from Britain.
The rhetoric coming from the far-right has fuelled a rise in hate crimes, with a recent report by the interior ministry revealing a 120% increase in anti-Muslim attacks.
The Movement Against Intolerance, which works directly with victims, registered 602 incidents in 2018 connected to hate crimes.
The organisation estimates that annual hate attacks in Spain number between 4,000 and 6,000, although the majority go unreported to police or judicial authorities.
Vox’s leader Santiago Abascal has spoken of a new ‘reconquista,’ referring to the historical battles between Moorish and Christian kingdoms for control of Spain.
Ignacio Jurado , a senior lecturer in politics at the University of York told the Olive Press:
“Spain is not different to other countries, in the sense that people feel more legitimised to hold certain attitudes and opinions that in the past they might have been ashamed to express publicly.
“In other words, some attitudes have become more normalised. Having parties with representation that hold certain views contributes to this de-stigmatisation. This is many steps away from actually engaging in violent behaviours but it shows a context where these behaviours can be more likely to emerge.”
The violent behaviours Jurado has spoken of have already been manifested – most horrifically in the recent massacre of Muslims in New Zealand.
The country’s deadliest ever terrorist attack saw a gunman open fire on men, women and children from close range at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, killing 50.
Shooter Brenton Tarrant paid homage to a convicted Spanish neo-Nazi during his rampage, which was streamed live on social media using a Go-Pro.
Tarrant wrote the name of Jose Estebanez on the magazine of his rifle in white marker, alongside a host of other notorious far-right killers from around the world.
The former soldier became a cult figure for racist extremism after killing a left-wing activist on the Madrid subway in 2007.
Estebanez is revered as an ‘idol’ on the white supremacist forum Stormfront, with numerous Spanish threads in support of the murderer and fundraising for his family.
The then 25-year-old was travelling to an anti-immigration rally when he spotted a group of counter demonstrators waiting to board.
He pulled a knife and stabbed Carlos Palomino in the heart shortly after the 16-year-old boarded the train.
Tarrant is known to have traveled widely in Spain last year, passing through Granada, Cordoba and Ronda.
Police are now investigating what possible links the Australian supremacist had with far right networks here in Spain.