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CRIME

Neo-Nazi link to rabbi death in Zurich probed

Investigators suspect that a neo-Nazi terror group responsible for a series of murders in Germany may also have been behind the unexplained killing of a 70-year-old Israeli rabbi in Zurich a decade ago.

Neo-Nazi link to rabbi death in Zurich probed
Photo: DPA

The prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe has tasked a special investigator with examining links between extremists in Switzerland and the National Socialist Underground (NSU), the German neo-Nazi terrorist group responsible for at least ten murders from 2000 to 2007.

According to the Basler Zeitung newspaper, so far there is no hard evidence that the NSU had a hand in the killing of Rabbi Abraham Grünbaum. But the group is known to have had contact with Swiss extremists and the 2001 shooting coincided with a short burst of deadly NSU activity. Additionally, the methods used in the slaying resembled those favoured by the Zwickau-based German terrorist group.

Though police declined to confirm on the record that they suspected the NSU was involved in the killing, a Zurich police spokesman told the Basler Zeitung they were looking into the matter.

“Whenever similar crimes happen we, of course, examine whether there could be links to unsolved homicides in our jurisdiction,” the spokesman said.

The Israeli orthodox rabbi was shot twice in the upper part of his body on June 7, 2001 from a range of less than two metres. At the time it was suspected that anti-Semitism could have been a motive but that could never be proven. However, nothing was stolen from the rabbi. Police briefly detained one man on suspicion of committing the killing, but he was released without charges.

That summer also saw similar killings by the terrorist cell of three Turks: a tailor in Nuremberg, a fruit seller in Hamburg and the owner of a small business in Munich.

The terrorists also met with like-minded people in several cantons in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the Basler Zeitung reported.

Witnesses reported they drove a vehicle with Swiss number plates during their travels across northern Germany. Additionally, the weapon they allegedly used to kill eight Turks and one Greek over the course of the last decade, a Ceska 83, was purchased in canton Solothurn in Switzerland, the newspaper said.

The Local/mdm

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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