German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference at the 291st Jagerbataillon in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, eastern France, on May 3, 2017. AFP / FREDERICK FLORIN
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The bizarre case of a racist soldier allegedly plotting an attack while posing as a Syrian refugee and several abuse scandals have sparked a war of words between Germany's defense minister and the military.The mother-of-seven has sternly criticized military "attitude and leadership problems," highlighted by the case of the soldier and by recent sexual abuse and hazing scandals.The escalating conflict started with the arrest last week of a soldier identified only as 28-year-old army Lt. Franco A., stationed at a Franco-German base near Strasbourg.Prosecutors charge that A. harbored far-right views and, with at least one co-conspirator, plotted an attack with the apparent aim of discrediting foreigners.Gen. Walter Spindler, for failing to deal with the problems quickly enough.
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