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CRIME

Manhunt underway over alleged ‘heinous and brutal’ rape of schoolgirls

Police have not yet been able to find an 18-year-old man suspected of involvement in the rape of several schoolgirls in the Ruhr region.

Manhunt underway over alleged 'heinous and brutal' rape of schoolgirls
Photo: DPA

While there are several clues as to the suspect’s whereabouts, a police spokesperson in Essen, North Rhine-Westphalia, said on Thursday, a “decisive lead” is still lacking.

Over the past few months, six young males between the ages of 16 and 23 are suspected to have been involved in at least six cases of alleged rape involving several adolescent girls, according to investigators.

But after the arrest of four of the men, and with investigations underway regarding the underage 16-year-old suspect, the public prosecutor’s office and police on Wednesday reported that the last remaining suspect – an 18-year-old male from Gelsenkirchen – had disappeared.

The suspects allegedly made initial contact with the young girls via social media and acquaintances. Then they lured them into remote areas and pressured them into performing sexual acts on them, according to a police report.

“These are particularly heinous and brutal acts,” said police spokesman in Essen, Lars Lindemann.

The acts took place in Essen and Gelsenkirchen, reported Focus Online, adding that the perpetrators afterward ridiculed their victims and bragged about their deeds online.

Investigators believe the young men are responsible for further sexual offences.

Only three victims – all 16-year-old girls – have filed complaints with investigators thus far. But police believe that there are more victims and have urged others to come forward.


The 18-year-old suspect. Photo: Polizei Essen

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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