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CRIME

Lufthansa pilot caught with deadly slingshots

A Lufthansa pilot has been arrested at Frankfurt Airport after he tried to bring two deadly slingshots and hundreds of ball bearings into Germany, officials said Tuesday.

Lufthansa pilot caught with deadly slingshots
Photo: DPA

A spokesman for Frankfurt customs confirmed a report in Tuesday’s edition of daily Bild that the 30-year-old co-pilot was nabbed when the illegal weapons were found in his bag after a flight from Los Angeles.

He was also carrying 286 steel ball bearings, which are used as ammunition.

A criminal investigation had been launched, the spokesman said.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman said the airline was helping the investigators with their inquiries. She refused to comment on possible consequences for the pilot and stressed the man was being investigated rather than the airline.

Customs officers found the slingshots during a random bag search. A close-range, the high-powered devices could cause fatal injuries, the spokesman said.

The United States has liberal laws on such weapons. Nevertheless, slingshots were rarely found on passengers returning from the US because bags were usually strictly screened before a person boarded a plane in a city like Los Angeles.

It was particularly rare for airline staff to breach such clear provisions, he said. It was normal for customs to randomly search the bags of crew members, he added.

The case was handed over to the state prosecutors’ office. The pilot was potentially in breach of both weapons laws and air safety laws.

DPA/The Local/djw

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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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