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CRIME

Three trucks full of weaponry removed from bomber’s home

Two weeks after Hessian police arrested a man who bombed a family's home in Viernheim near Mannheim, officers closed roads early on Wednesday to transport three trucks full of explosives and other weaponry confiscated from his apartment.

Three trucks full of weaponry removed from bomber's home
Some of the weapons confiscated by police after the standoff. Photo: DPA

“In total 16 vehicles were part of the operation, three trucks for the explosives and 13 other vehicles to secure the convoy,” Viernheim police spokesperson Ferdinand Derigs told The Local.

On August 19, a 44-year-old suspect identified only as Jürgen K. allegedly set off an explosion around 6:00 am at a single-family home in the town near Mannheim, slightly injuring two adults and two children as they escaped through a broken window. He may also have been involved in another explosion in Weinheim, some five kilometres away in Baden-Württemberg, which involved a hand grenade but caused no injuries.

The man fled and barricaded him in his nearby apartment wearing camouflage and a gas mask. From there he called police and threatened further explosions.

A tense overnight stand-off followed, with some 500 police and emergency workers evacuating the area and surrounding the building. On August 20, he surrendered and was arrested by special commando officers.

Nearby residents were not allowed to return to their homes on Theodor-Heuss-Allee until two days later on the evening of August 22 due to police efforts to remove his arsenal of explosives, chemicals and weapons, Derigs told The Local.

The weaponry was stored at a temporary facility before Wednesday morning’s operation.

“We won’t say just how much or what was there, but it was three trucks’ worth,” Derigs said.

The explosives will be destroyed at an undisclosed location.

Meanwhile Jürgen K. remains imprisoned on remand under suspicion of attempted murder and violating weapons laws.

While his motive remains unclear, police said that he was being evicted by his landlord after failing to pay rent for several months.

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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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