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CRIME

Two Americans shot dead at Frankfurt Airport

Two US servicemen were shot dead at Frankfurt Airport and at least two others seriously injured on Wednesday after a man opened fire on bus for American soldiers. Both US President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel expressed shock and outrage.

Two Americans shot dead at Frankfurt Airport
Photo: DPA

Police spokesman Jürgen Linker said the incident occurred at Terminal 2 on a bus used to transport US military personnel. The bus driver and one member of the US Air Force were reportedly killed.

“Two airmen have been killed and two were wounded during a shooting incident today at Frankfurt International Airport,” US Air Forces Europe said in a statement.

The victims had just flown in from Britain and were about to travel to Ramstein airbase near Frankfurt, German police said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to the friends and families of the deceased. “This is a horrible event,” she told reporters in Berlin.

The shooting came a month after Germany’s authorities had announced that additional security measures imposed late last year in response to indications of an imminent “terrorist” attack were set to be gradually scaled back.

The police initially said they believed there was an altercation near the bus before the shooting occurred around 3:20 pm and there was no clear indication that it was an act of terrorism. However, by Wednesday evening evidence was mounting that it could have been a targeted attack against US forces.

The authorities said a 21-year-old suspect from Kosovo living in Frankfurt had been overpowered after fleeing into the terminal building.

Boris Rhein, interior minister for the state of Hesse, said the man had apparently approached the bus and shot a US solider standing in front of the vehicle before killing the driver in his seat. He said the motive for the shooting remained unknown.

“I am consciously speaking of homicide and not an attack,” said Rhein at the scene of the shooting. “But at the moment nothing can be ruled out.”

The suspect used a handgun, Rhein said, while media reports said that the man also had a knife. There was no exchange of fire aboard the bus.

Another police spokesman said that those injured were taken to a civilian hospital, but he was unable to say if they were in a critical condition.

US President Barack Obama, in a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room, said that the US government would “spare no effort” to find out the circumstances of the attack.

“We will be working with German authorities to ensure that all the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Obama said, describing the shooting a “stark reminder” of the sacrifices US service members serving abroad made.

The US military has a number of major bases near Frankfurt, including Ramstein, which are used as hubs for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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DPA/AFP/DAPD/The Local/mry

CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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