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CRIME

Limburg truck hijacker held for attempted murder

German authorities Tuesday held on suspicion of attempted murder a Syrian man who hijacked an articulated lorry and smashed it into cars stopped at a traffic light in the city of Limburg, injuring several people.

Limburg truck hijacker held for attempted murder
Limburg's court house. Photo: DPA

The 32-year-old will remain in custody, suspected of attempted murder and bodily harm as well as a traffic offence, Frankfurt prosecutors told AFP.

Earlier Tuesday, the investigators had said in a statement that their probe into the motive for the unnamed suspect's act was “ongoing” and they were “pursuing all leads”. Prosecutors said the suspect was not believed to have used a weapon in the hijacking.

READ ALSO: German police probe terrorist motive in hijacked truck case

The truck sped into the parked cars a few metres (yards) away and came to a stop on the central reservation of a six-lane road.

When the man behind the wheel of the truck emerged from the crash, several
passers-by provided first aid, FNP said.

“The passers-by said the driver said 'Allah' several times” and spoke Arabic, FNP reported.

The scene of the crash. Photo: DPA

Police did not confirm this account.

Bettina Yeisley from Limburg, whose office is next to the crash scene, told FNP she heard a loud bang and ran out onto the street with colleagues.

They found the driver sitting by the roadside in the city of 35,000 about an hour's drive from the financial capital Frankfurt.

“He was bleeding from the nose, his hands were bloody, his trousers torn. He said that everything hurt. I asked him his name and he said, 'My name is Mohammed'.”

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic security watchdog, warned in April of an estimated 2,240 Islamists with “terrorist potential” living in Germany.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party has seized on Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to leave the German border open to more than one million migrants and refugees in 2015-16, accusing her government of compromising national security.

It is now the biggest opposition party in parliament.

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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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