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CRIME

Germany opens probe against Strasbourg attack suspect

German prosecutors have launched an investigation into the suspect in the deadly gun attack at a Christmas market along the French-German border, a spokesman for the service said Thursday.

Germany opens probe against Strasbourg attack suspect
An ambulance near the scene of the attack on Tuesday night. Photo: DPA

Cherif Chekatt, 29, is under investigation for alleged murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm, Markus Schmitt, a spokesman for German prosecutors said, confirming a report in the Tagesspiegel daily.

The German probe runs in parallel with the French investigation, Schmitt added.

Chekatt was jailed for burglary in Germany in 2016 but was not deemed a potentially dangerous Islamist, German authorities said Wednesday.

Even though Tuesday evening's attack took place on French soil, several German nationals were present at the site during the assault. They were not wounded but they suffered shock.

SEE ALSO: Strasbourg gunman, previously jailed in Germany, said to have screamed 'Allahu Akbar'

The gunman opened fire at the famed Strasbourg Christmas market, which draws thousands of visitors every year.

Locations in which Chekatt was reportedly scene after the attack in Strasbourg, which is located directly on the German border. Photo: DPA

The attack left three dead and 13 injured, according to the latest toll given by the French authorities.

German police have tightened border checks over fears that the suspect may have crossed over from neighbouring France.

SEE ALSO: Strasbourg suspect: a violent criminal on terror watchlist

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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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