German police raid Islamists

Police seized documents and searched buildings across Germany on Wednesday in a coordinated raid against a group of suspected Islamic extremists, officials in the German state of Bavaria said.

German police raid Islamists
A mosque in Leipzig searched by police. Photo: DPA

Targets of the investigation led by the Munich prosecutor’s office were nine German citizens between the ages of 25 and 47 years old, according to the state Office of Criminal Investigation in Bavaria. The men, most of whom have an immigrant background, are suspected of sedition and running a criminal organization.

No arrests were immediately reported.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachin Herrmann told German news agency DPA the searches were a sign of the hazards of fundamentalist Islam.

More than 130 officers searched 16 buildings, including private flats, cultural centres and a publishing house in Neu-Ulm, Ulm, Sindelfingen, Bonn, Berlin and Leipzig.

DPA cited unnamed German security officials in a report that the suspects, including two imams, had tried to incite jihad among young Muslims using the internet and seminars on Islam. The suspects are accused of forming an organization dedicated to radicalizing German Muslims in September 2005, DPA reported.

The news agency reported that the offices of publisher As-Sunna were searched in Berlin and association rooms were searched in Leipzig. It linked the investigation to the Multi-Kultur-Haus, a multicultural centre in Neu-Ulm shuttered by German authorities in 2005, and to the Islamic Information Centre of Ulm, which the agency said is also suspected of support for radical Islam.


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.