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Police shoot dead knife-wielding attacker in western Germany

German police have shot dead a knife-wielding Turkish man who sought to attack officers in the city of Gelsenkirchen.

Police shoot dead knife-wielding attacker in western Germany
The cordoned off area in Gelsenkirchen. Photo: DPA

The man, who lived in Gelsenkirchen, struck a patrol car with an object on Sunday and sought to assail officers standing by the vehicle “with a raised object,” a police spokesman told AFP.

Officers noted that the attacker was holding a knife behind his back, he added.

Despite several warnings from officers, the man refused to stop his assault, leading a 23-year-old policeman to fire a shot that killed him.

Asked to confirm reports that the man cried out “Allah Akbar” (“God is greater”) during the assault, the police spokesman would only say they are “rumours”.

Germany remains on alert following a series of Islamist attacks, the deadliest of which was a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people.

Dozens of suspects have been arrested or charged over alleged terror plots in recent years.

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POLICE

German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.

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