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CRIME

Police catch Charlie Hebdo arson suspects

Hamburg police temporarily detained nine suspects on Wednesday over a January arson attack on a newspaper that had reprinted cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed from French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Police catch Charlie Hebdo arson suspects
A fire engine outside the offices of the Hamburger Morgenpost following the attack. Photo: DPA

Officers searched 12 apartments in dawn raids, detained the suspects aged 16 to 21, and took them to a police station to record their personal details before releasing them, police in the port city said.

The group of local-area youths and adolescents, who were of German, Nigerian, Cameroonian and Turkish origin, were also suspected of having vandalised a nearby high school a day before the arson attack, police and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

The attack on the regional tabloid Hamburger Morgenpost, which caused property damage but no injuries, came just days after jihadist gunmen in Paris killed 12 people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

The perpetrators in Hamburg threw a manhole cover, several rocks and two incendiary devices into the building, causing damage to its archives.

The daily, known locally as the MOPO, had splashed the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page with the headline "This much freedom must be possible!".

Prosecutors have refused to speculate on a motive for the newspaper attack, saying that with the aid of evidence collected in the raids, "we will now have to clarify this".

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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