Elite German anti-terror unit to grow by third and move to Berlin

Elite German anti-terror unit to grow by third and move to Berlin
GSG 9 officers in Frankfurt am Main. Photo: DPA
The elite German police unit, the GSG 9 is to recruit a large number of new personnel and set up base in Berlin, the federal police unit’s commander said on Monday.

GSG 9 commander Jerome Fuchs told broadcaster RBB that a second base is to be built in Berlin to ensure that the anti-terror cops had the ability to respond to threats quickly in the capital.

“We are talking about a growth of about a third of our current ranks,” Fuchs said.

The GSG 9 currently is based in St Augustine near the former West German capital, Bonn.

While there has been no final decision on where the base in Berlin is to be built, Fuchs said it would most likely be in Spandau, a district on the northwestern fringe of the capital.

Fuchs said that a heightened risk of a terror attack was the reason for creating the second base.

“When one looks at similar terror situations across Europe, one sees that the capital city was often hit. We certainly need to equip ourselves in the capital better,” he said.

“The goal is clear: that the GSG 9 have the ability to act quickly in Berlin.”

Fuchs described it as a “big challenge” to find appropriate candidates to fill the new positions, listing “fitness, strength of character and team skills” as necessary for any hopefuls.

The GSG 9 was created in 1972 and is best known for storming the Landshut in 1977. The Lufthansa jet had been hijacked by Palestinian militants who wanted to use the situation to force the release of captive comrades. GSG 9 troops stormed the hijacked plane in Mogadishu, freeing all the hostages and killing four of the hijackers.

According to Fuchs, the GSG 9 are called out on around 50 missions every year.