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CRIME

Seventh suspect arrested over killing of fireman in centre of Augsburg

A seventh and final suspect was also arrested after a deadly attack on a passer-by in Augsburg on Friday evening.

Seventh suspect arrested over killing of fireman in centre of Augsburg
A memorial of flowers and candles was laid for the victim on Sunday. Photo: DPA

A spokesman for the Augsburg police headquarters said on Monday that all of the suspects have now been caught. 

A 49-year-old professional firefighter had been killed on Friday evening in an argument with a group of young men at Königsplatz in the centre of Augsburg in Bavaria. 

The man had been at the city’s Christmas market with his wife and a couple of friends, before dining in a nearby restaurant. 

There the two couples met a group of seven young men with whom they got into an argument. One of the men hit the victim in the head, causing him to fall to the ground.

His 50-year-old companion was also beaten by the group and injured in the face. The two women were not attacked and remained unharmed. 

Police at the scene of the crime on late Friday evening. Photo: DPA

The perpetrators then fled. Emergency doctors tried to resuscitate the man on site, but the 49-year-old died in the ambulance. 

Investigators arrested the first two 17-year-old suspects on Sunday. 

The video surveillance, which the police installed at Augsburg's Königsplatz in December 2018, helped with the search.

One 17-year-old suspect is a German who also has Turkish and Lebanese citizenship. The other 17-year-old is a native of Augsburg with Italian citizenship. 

Investigators will announce further details of the case at a press conference on Monday afternoon, they said. 

Over 100 firemen held a moment of silence for their colleague at the scene of the crime on Sunday, and also laid flowers and lit candles.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder also gave his condolences: “We are all shaken. All our sympathies go to the fireman's family.” 

Surveillance ‘made the work of police much easier’

Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) stressed the importance of video surveillance during arrests after the fatal attack. 

“The images made the work of the police much easier”, the CSU politician told the Augsburger Allgemeine.  

The video surveillance at Königsplatz, the central point for public transport in the city, was not put in place until December 2018 as part of a state programme, the newspaper reported. 

The Augsburg surveillance cameras which had been installed a year earlier in December 2018. Photo: DPA

Since then, the police have been monitoring the area with 15 cameras.

“We have always pushed this, and such cases show that the demand has proven to be right,” Herrmann added.

It difficult for eyewitnesses to describe the perpetrators of a crime precisely, which is why video recordings are the most important for the investigation, he said. 

However, Hermann said that video surveillance should be restricted. He said: “We don't want total surveillance, it only exists in authoritarian states.”

Instead, he said, the focus should be on trying to prevent “excessive violence” in public spaces in the first place. 

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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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