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CRIME

Austrian officials receive acid packages from Germany

Suspicious packages containing acidic substances have been sent from Germany to three city councillors in the Austrian capital Vienna, slightly injuring one of them.

The recipient of the dangerous parcel from Passau in the German state of Bavaria, Rudolf Prinz, is suffering from burn-like irritations to his eyes, nose and skin after opening a parcel of cigars which released a strange liquid and vapour.

Two others, also sent from Passau, were intercepted by police before fellow councillors in Weisskirchen, northern Austria, could open them.

“My eyes, my nose, my skin are (all) burning,” said Prinz, who left his post as mayor of the town just a few weeks earlier.

Austrian police, working with German authorities, have yet to identify the precise nature of the substance – but said it could involve cyanhydric acid or chlorohydric acid. Locals have been warned to be on the lookout for suspicious deliveries.

In February, the mayor of a small market town west of Vienna collapsed after eating a chocolate poisoned with strychnine, a poison often used to kill rats which can be fatal for humans as well.

A man was later arrested after traces of his DNA were found on a note left on the windshield of the mayor’s car. Hannes Hirtzberger, 56, was taken to hospital where doctors placed him in

an artificial coma – from which has yet awakened.

The suspect, who maintains his innocence, owns a vineyard on which he had wanted to build a spa hotel only for the mayor to turn down his application.

GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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