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CRIME

Police probe Ikea bombing blackmail

As Ikea increases security at its stores across Europe following an explosion in its Dresden branch, police in Germany are examining a letter claiming responsibility and threatening further attacks if a substantial amount of money is not paid.

Police probe Ikea bombing blackmail
Photo: DPA

The Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten paper said on Friday it had received one letter demanding an eight-digit euro amount of money within seven days and threatening that further attacks would be carried out if the money was not handed over.

The Dresdner Morgenpost said the threat was to Ikea stores in Hannover, Hildesheim, Bremen and Göttingen, but also suggested that detectives reckoned it could be from a fraudster who had no connection with the attack in Dresden. Other attacks have been carried out in Ikea stores in Belgium, France and the Netherlands in recent weeks.

Police investigating the explosion at the Dresden Ikea which slightly hurt two people last Friday evening, turned to television this week, making an appeal on the ZDF programme Aktenzeichen XY… ungelöst (Case File xy… Unsolved) which publicises unsolved crimes.

Following the show the state criminal police received 10 further clues to the case, but said nothing had emerged that looked decisive.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Ikea store in Kiel on Wednesday after a member of staff found a mobile phone wrapped in sheepskin abandoned in the bedroom section of the shop. Explosives experts were called to examine the phone, but gave the all clear two hours after the evacuation, and the people were allowed back in.

A number of Ikea stores now have private security guards posted at the doors, but it remains completely unclear what they might be looking out for.

DPA/The Local/hc

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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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