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CRIME

Major train delays hit western Germany as police hunt murder suspect

Police are currently hunting for a murder suspect in the town of Elze near Hildesheim, investigators announced on Friday morning, causing train delays throughout western Germany.

Major train delays hit western Germany as police hunt murder suspect
A police car in front of the train station in Elze on Friday morning. Photo: DPA

The 52-year-old man is said to have brutally killed an acquaintance in Göttingen on Thursday during a dispute in broad daylight. The victim died at the scene of the crime. 

“The man is still on the run. We are currently following a clue that leads to the Elze area [near Hildesheim],” one officer reported, declining to give further details.  

Police in Göttingen asked that anyone with further information report to them.

“Due to police investigations at Elze train station, the station there and the line between Hanover and Göttingen are currently closed,” Deutsche Bahn wrote on its website.

Long-distance train traffic – both for Deutsche Bahn and private railway company Metronom – is particularly affected, especially in the states of Lower Saxony and Hesse. 

However, train traffic heading to as far away as Berlin was also experiencing delays on Friday morning, with several stops closed off and trains rerouted.

Deutsche Bahn has published a complete list of affected trains on its website

A horrendous crime

The suspected murder took place on Thursday around 1 pm. The man reportedly first stabbed his victim, struck her with a fire extinguisher, poured gasoline over her and set her on fire, according to a BILD report.

However, police have not yet confirmed these details.

Witnesses who tried to help the 44-year-old victim were also attacked by the perpetrator, according to police. The investigators published photos of the suspect in two separate statements and warned against approaching him. They assume that he is still armed.

The suspect fled the crime scene on a bike, according to police, after which a helicopter search for him followed. The area around the crime scene in the Grone district of Göttingen was closed off.

Suspect reportedly seen Friday morning

A train near Elze was stopped on Friday morning after a tip from the personnel that the suspect was onboard, according to a police spokeswoman.

“When the officers arrived, he fled the train. The search continues,” said the spokeswoman.

The suspect was able to escape from the train after the staff had locked him in a wagon by breaking a window, the Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

This story was last updated on Friday at 12:15 pm.


 

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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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