Terror suspect extradited from Austria

A German man arrested on suspicion of recruiting for a terror group mounting attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan was extradited from Austria Monday, federal prosecutors said.

Terror suspect extradited from Austria
Photo: DPA

The German federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the suspect identified only as Yusuf O. was arrested in Austria on May 31 on a German warrant.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old travelled to the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan from Germany in May 2009 and joined the “foreign terrorist organisation” German Taliban Mujahideen (DTM) in September of that year.

He allegedly trained in using explosives and firearms “and took part in jihad for the DTM,” which plots attacks against government troops in the region as well as the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, the statement said.

“In addition he is accused of appearing in propaganda videos for the terrorist organisation,” it said.

From early 2011, Yusuf O. is believed to have begun seeking new recruits for the DTM in Europe.

Austrian police arrested four terror suspects last week including a 25-year-old Austrian convert to Islam suspected of recruiting for terror training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan and financing the DTM.

He is believed to have been in contact with Yusuf O., according to Austrian authorities.

The three other suspects, who were arrested at Vienna airport apparently on their way to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, were released but the alleged Austrian recruiter remains in custody.

The daily Kronen Zeitung reported Saturday that the Austrian suspect, identified as Thomas al-J., was plotting to crash a plane into the Bundestag parliament building in Berlin and had been training on a flight simulator.

Neither Austrian nor German authorities have confirmed the report.


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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.