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CRIME

Police release photos of suspects behind two more Berlin U-Bahn attacks

Berlin police are searching for suspects behind two new cases of people being knocked down U-Bahn stairs or escalators after the high-profile Hermannstrasse attack last year.

Police release photos of suspects behind two more Berlin U-Bahn attacks
A photo released by Berlin police of the Alexanderplatz attack.

Police this week released photos of two similar attacks at Berlin U-Bahn stations in which victims were pushed down either stairs or an escalator.

Photos released on Tuesday depict the 38-year-old victim at the tourist hub of Alexanderplatz falling down a flight of stairs. Police say that on June 11th, an unknown man hit the victim in the head from behind, causing him to fall down the stairs, with his head hitting the metal handrail multiple times.

Police note that there are no indications that the two men knew each other.

As the man fell down the stairs, the perpetrator stood above and watched.

“To see this is always upsetting,” said a police spokeswoman.

As a result, the victim sustained a serious head injury and numerous bruises all over his body, which had to be treated in hospital.

The perpetrator’s face and Chicago Bulls basketball jacket were captured relatively clearly by the security cameras, and police are hoping the release of the images will help them catch him.

“We are optimistic that we will get him,” said the spokeswoman.

Within just a few hours of publishing the photos, police had already received two tips.

Unlike in the high-profile “U-Bahn kicker” case from last October, police decided not to release the full video. Video material is only supposed to be released when all other police search methods have been exhausted.

The footage of last year’s case, depicting a man kicking an unsuspecting woman down the Hermannstrasse U-Bahn station’s stairs, sent shockwaves across Germany and beyond.

SEE ALSO: Berlin 'U-Bahn kicker' sentenced to nearly three years in prison

The perpetrator was ultimately found after the video was released, and last week sentenced to nearly three years in jail.

On Monday, police also released photos to help find two men behind an attack at the Gesundbrunnen U-Bahn station against three other men aged between 20 and 23. This attack took place in January.

Police say three victims were standing on the downward escalator when they heard a loud shout, turned around and saw the duo. One of the perpetrators clung to the handrails while he swung his legs out and kicked the 20-year-old man, who then fell down the moving stairs.

The pair then targeted the 23-year-old, kicking him in the upper body and face. They also reportedly choked the third man, 22, before fleeing. The first two were slightly injured, while the third man remained unharmed.

Photo: Berlin police

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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