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CRIME

Germany arrests two suspects in double police shooting

German police on Monday arrested two suspects in a major manhunt triggered by the fatal shooting of two police officers during a routine traffic stop.

Police officers stand at a cordon on Kreisstraße 22 near the scene where two police officers were shot dead.
Police officers stand at a cordon on Kreisstraße 22, about a kilometre from the scene where two police officers were shot dead. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

A 38-year-old suspect was taken into custody in the western state of Saarland shortly after police issued a wanted notice and shared his photo with the media.

He was arrested by special forces in the town of Sulzbach, Saarland police said in a statement.

A 32-year-old man was separately detained “without resisting arrest” during police searches of several premises, they added.

The shooting happened at around 4.20am on Monday in Rhineland-Palatinate. 

The victims – a 24-year-old woman and 29-year-old man – were carrying out checks on traffic in the district of Kusel at the time, police in nearby Kaiserslautern said.

The shooting, for which the motive remains unclear, sent shockwaves through Germany.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser likened the crime to an “execution” and said it showed “that police officers risk their lives every day for our security”.

Police comb an area following the shooting of two police officers in western Germany.

Police at the scene following the shooting of two police officers in western Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Thomas Frey

Westpfalz police initially said they were hunting for more than one fugitive, at least one of whom was armed.

German police closed off roads and deployed helicopters and sniffer dogs in the hunt for the perpetrator.

Police had also urged residents in the Kusel district not to pick up hitchhikers.

Investigators closed off Kreisstrasse 22 is near Mayweilerhof and Ulmet. 

Still in training

According to the investigators, the two officers had been on a routine patrol. They were travelling in a civilian patrol car, but were wearing uniforms.

The early morning shooting occurred on a country road surrounded by forest and fields.

The two officers were able to radio their colleagues for assistance at the scene. Backup police then arrived at the scene and found one officer dead and the other fatally injured.

The young woman who was gunned down was still in police training, according to Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz.

Germany’s Bild newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying the two officers had pulled over a “suspicious vehicle” and radioed in to say they had found dead game in the trunk, before shots were fired.

Police said the motive for the shooting remained unknown.

An armed police officer at a cordon near the scene where two police officers were killed.

An armed police officer at a cordon near the scene where two police officers were killed. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

‘Shocked and saddened’

People in Germany have been left stunned by the news. 

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said: “My thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of the victims. We will do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators.”

Marco Buschmann, Germany’s Justice Minister, said: “This terrible act leaves you stunned.” 

Germany’s GdP police union expressed its “deep shock and sadness” over the shooting.

“Our thoughts are with the relatives and loved ones of the colleagues who died as a result of an act of violence in the line of duty,” GdP deputy chief Joerg Radek said.

The last time a police officer was killed on duty in Rhineland-Palatinate state was in 2010, when a special task force officer was shot dead by a Hells Angel biker during a raid.

Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer and interior minister Lewentz also said they were deeply saddened.

“Our thoughts are with the relatives,” they said in a statement. “The crime is horrific. We are deeply shocked that two young people have lost their lives in the line of duty.”

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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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