updated 12/14/2008 1:46:30 PM ET 2008-12-14T18:46:30

A police chief known for his opposition to the far right was stabbed in his home in southern Germany, security officials said Sunday. They suspect a neo-Nazi was behind the attack.

Passau city police chief Alois Mannichl was stabbed in the chest by an unidentified assailant Saturday, said Bavarian interior ministry spokesman Oliver Platzer.

Platzer said the victim told investigators the attacker wished him greetings from "the national resistance" — a slogan used by far-right extremists in Germany.

Mannichl, 52, underwent surgery to repair the stab wound just 2 centimeters (less than an inch) from his heart and is recovering at a hospital.

State prosecutor Helmut Walch told reporters the knife was found in a nearby garden and officials had confiscated it as evidence. He said authorities consider the attack attempted murder.

Authorities said 83 crimes in Passau have been attributed to far-right extremists this year, more than double the number recorded in 2007.

Under Mannichl, Passau police have increased their monitoring of right-wing rallies and activities. Such rallies have often broken down into violence between neo-Nazi demonstrators and police.

Mannichl's police force has taken an equally tough stance against left-wing protesters.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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