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CRIME

Drug addict confesses to deadly Autobahn attack

A case involving a chunk of wood thrown from a motorway bridge in Lower Saxony has been solved after a drug addict confessed to killing a woman in a passing car two months ago.

Drug addict confesses to deadly Autobahn attack
Photo: DPA

The police arrested a 30-year-old suspect from the town Rastede, chief public prosecutor Roland Herrmann in nearby Oldenburg said on Wednesday evening.

A court had already issued an arrest warrant for murder and premeditated dangerous interference in traffic a day earlier. The German man, who is originally from Kazakhstan, then confessed.

The man said his motive for the deed was “general frustration” and that he regretted his actions.

A 33-year-old mother of two was killed in March when the man threw a 6-kilogramme wooden block from a motorway bridge on the A29 motorway near Oldenburg. The block crashed through the windshield and hit the woman, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Also traveling in the car were the victim’s husband and two children, aged seven and nine. They were not injured.

According to the authorities, the man had come to the police two weeks ago after they were considering doing mass DNA tests in the region to find the perpetrator. He told them he cleared a block of wood from the bike path on the bridge while riding to his drug dealer by putting it on the railing. Investigators put little credence in the man’s story.

The police said the man, who came to Germany 16 years ago with his family, was “seriously addicted to drugs.”

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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