Knife-wielding man killed on motorway

An unidentified man thought to have attacked three people with a knife was run down on a motorway in western Germany on Monday. One of his victims is fighting for his life, the others are seriously hurt.

Knife-wielding man killed on motorway
The A4 motorway was temporarily closed on Monday after the incident. Photo: DPA

The man began his knife rampage in the early hours of Monday morning, said police, when he got into a taxi in Heerlen, Netherlands and asked to be taken 20 kilometres across the German border to Aachen.

When asked to pay his fare at the end of the journey, the man stabbed his driver, seriously injuring him, before fleeing the scene, said police.

A few streets away the man is believed to have approached and demanded money from a resident who was getting into his car.

"When he didn't give it, he stabbed him several times, seriously injuring him," said Jost Schützeberg, spokesman for the state prosecutor in Aachen.   

Then the man got into another taxi and asked to be taken to Cologne – a journey of 100 kilometres. On the way he asked the driver to stop at a service station.

But when the man got out the taxi driver sped off, having been warned of the danger on his radio.

The suspect then attacked again, this time a truck driver who was resting in the services car park. The driver was very badly hurt and is now in a life-threatening condition, said the prosecutor.

Finally, the man attempted to cross the A4 motorway on foot, said Schützeberg, but was hit and killed by a passing car.

Dutch police are now cooperating with German authorities to find out the man's identity, background and possible motives.

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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.