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CRIME

Teen runs amok in Ansbach school attack

An 18-year-old went on a rampage with an axe and Molotov cocktails at a school in Ansbach in southern Germany on Thursday, injuring nine of his fellow students.

Teen runs amok in Ansbach school attack
Photo: DPA

Bavarian authorities said the teenager from the 13th grade was responsible for the attack just before 9 am on the Gymnasium Carolinum. Identified by the German media as Georg R., he was armed with an axe, knives and several firebombs.

The two firebombs he ignited in the attack apparently set off a fire alarm in the school, possibly heading off more carnage as students left the building and a police patrol car quickly came to the scene.

Click here for The Local’s photo gallery of the events in Ansbach.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that officers had to shoot the attacker upon confronting him at the school.

“With the perpetrator threatening the officers with his weapons, they were compelled to fire shots,” he said. “The quick response avoided a much worse escalation.”

Herrmann said a preliminary investigation showed the teen had no perceivable history of trouble, but students at the school described him as a loner.

Elke Schönwald from the police in nearby Nuremberg said he had been “seriously injured” after being shot five times and the authorities had not yet been able to interrogate him as to his possible motive.

Schönwald also said nine pupils had been hurt, including two girls who had been seriously injured. At least one is thought to have been hit directly by a firebomb.

Heavily armed police commandos searched the school before confirming the teenager had acted alone.

Authorities are on high alert in Germany after a school shooting in the town of Winnenden in March, when 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer shot dead 15 people before dying in a shoot-out with police. There have been several warnings of copycat shootings since, with armed police evacuating schools on several occasions.

In May, a 16-year-old girl was arrested after arriving at a school wearing a mask and armed with several knives, an air gun and a rucksack full of bottles of flammable liquid. She attacked another female student, nearly severing her thumb with a knife.

The school in Ansbach, a picturesque medieval town, is one of the oldest in the wealthy Franconia region of northern Bavaria.

“It is definitely not a problem school,” said Ludwig Unger, a spokesman for the Bavarian education ministry. “It has a very good reputation in the town.”

The school was quickly evacuated by the police and its some 700 students were moved to a nearby government job centre, where parents came to pick them up.

The city of Ansbach has set up a special hotline regarding the incident: 0981/14970

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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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