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CRIME

Probe underway after far-right threats sent to German politicians, courts and celebrities

German authorities are investigating over 100 threatening emails apparently sent by far-right sympathizers to lawyers, politicians, journalists and even a pop star, prosecutors said.

Probe underway after far-right threats sent to German politicians, courts and celebrities
Helene Fischer, who was reportedly one of the targets. Photo: DPA

Some of the emails contained bomb and other death treats, or boasted of being in possession of guns and biological weapons, according to revelations by the Süddeutsche daily and NDR regional broadcaster.

The emails were signed either with “National-Socialist Offensive”, a reference to Hitler's Nazi ideology, “Wehrmacht”, the German word for Hitler's army, or “NSU 2.0” — after the NSU neo-Nazi terror cell that murdered 10 people from 2000-2007.

Berlin prosecutors confirmed that they had opened a probe against persons unknown on suspicion of blackmail, incitement and disturbance of the peace.

Among those targeted by the hate mail was German far-left lawmaker Martina Renner who was warned to expect “letter bombs” and “executions of citizens in the street”, media reports said.

Popular German singer Helene Fischer, who last year criticized racist violence at far-right protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, reportedly also received threats. Her management declined to comment when contacted by news agency DPA.

SEE ALSO: Eight police hurt in clashes at far-right gig in Germany

Similar emails were sent to court houses in several German cities, as well as the Frankfurt prosecutor's office, Hamburg airport and the tax office in the city of Koblenz.

Other recipients have included the Central Council of Jews, lawyers, journalists and politicians.

“For several months now a group has been sending threatening emails to authorities and institutions across Germany using different sender addresses, without a harmful event occurring,” Koblenz police said in a statement.

“The language in the emails is similar.”

Police have been investigating the emails since last summer, according to DPA.

The most recent emails prompted police to evacuate the main train station in Lübeck on Monday and Gelsenkirchen's tax office on Tuesday, Süddeutsche reported, but no bombs were found.

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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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