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CRIME

Inept crooks blast roof off bank outside Berlin

Criminals used so much explosive while trying to rob a bank near Berlin on Wednesday night that they blasted a wall and part of the roof off the building - and may not even have got away with any loot.

Inept crooks blast roof off bank outside Berlin
Photo: DPA

Three men were spotted fleeing in a car from the bank in Groß Leuthen, Brandenburg at around 2:20am by a nearby resident.

The entrance to the bank was seriously damaged, with the roof partly blown off and one wall fallen in, but police said the building was not in danger of collapse on Thursday morning.

Police were unable immediately to confirm whether any money had been stolen from the building, but forensic specialists from the state police were on the scene hunting for clues.

Neither could they confirm whether Michael Caine had been on the scene to rebuke the explosives specialist with his famous line from The Italian Job.

No-one was hurt in the explosion.

The raid is the latest in a series of blasts to hit banks across Germany, with several recorded in Brandenburg and in North Rhine-Westphalia.

But the robberies usually take place in banks close to an Autobahn so that the thieves can make a quick getaway.

State police in Düsseldorf said earlier this month that there had been several million euros' worth of damage and thefts in the series of heists.

Federal police said that there had been 63 explosive attacks on banks so far this year, compared with 116 in the whole of 2014.

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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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