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CRIME

Record 4.5 tonnes of cocaine worth €1 billion seized in Hamburg

Germany's customs service said Friday it had seized a 4.5 tonne cocaine shipment, the country's largest ever, with an estimated street value of one billion euros.

Record 4.5 tonnes of cocaine worth €1 billion seized in Hamburg
The cocaine was seized from a shipping container in Hamburg. Photo: Hauptzollamt Hamburg/DPA

The illegal drugs were discovered two weeks ago in a Netherlands-bound shipping container from Uruguay during a search in the northern port city of Hamburg, they said.

When customs agents opened the container, which according to the manifesto was loaded with soybeans, they found more than 200 sports bags packed with over 4,200 packages of compressed cocaine.

READ ALSO: Cocaine worth €25million found in Aldi banana boxes in northern Germany

The 4.5 tonnes surpassed total seizures of 3.8 tonnes made in Hamburg in 2017.

“This enormous quantity represents the largest single seizure of cocaine in Germany,” said the customs service in a statement.

“Assuming that this probably very pure cocaine can be diluted to triple the amount for street sale, the 4.5 tonnes have a street value of approximately one billion euros.”

The cocaine being destroyed. Photo: Hauptzollamt Hamburg/DPA

The service said that “the cocaine seized has already been destroyed in secret and under extensive security precautions”.

The above picture taken by customs in Hamburg shows the cocaine being destroyed at a waste incineration plant.

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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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