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CRIME

Attacks on police rise dramatically

The number of attacks on German police officers rose drastically last year, according to figures released Saturday by the federal police authority in Potsdam.

Attacks on police rise dramatically
Photo: DPA

The number of police officers who were the victims of attack rose by 58 percent from 985 in 2008 to 1,555 in 2009, the police authority revealed. The number of attackers also rose significantly to 1,228, an increase of 65 percent.

This is the most offenders since the relevant statistics were first collected in 2000. In the last three years, the number has always stayed been 700 and 800.

The number of injured policemen saw a particularly large increase, with 462 injured – 130 percent more than 2008. Reports say that most of the attacks occurred on Fridays and Saturdays, with attackers frequently under the influence of alcohol. Only a quarter of the attackers were caught.

The head of the police union (GdP) Konrad Freiberg told news magazine Der Spiegel, “Police are increasingly becoming the target for people releasing their frustration and hate.”

On Friday, the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, put its weight behind a law proposal to increase punishments for attacking police. The law, proposed by the representatives of Bavaria and Saxony, would increase the maximum punishment to three years’ imprisonment. A punishment of five years’ imprisonment is being proposed for attacks using “dangerous weapons.”

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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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