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CRIME

UPDATED: German knife rampage suspect moves to psychiatric care

The alleged perpetrator of a knife attack on a university campus in Mann was on Saturday transferred to psychiatric care, as one victim fought for her life in hospital, prosecutors said.

Police emergency vehicles parked in front of the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences building where a 34-year-old man attacked several people with a knife and injured four people on 10th June 2022.
Police emergency vehicles parked in front of the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences building where a 34-year-old man attacked several people with a knife and injured four people on 10th June 2022. Photo: Festim Beqiri/TV7NEWS/dpa

Three women and one man were injured in the incident on Friday, before other students managed to restrain the attacker at the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences.

The 34-year-old suspect, who had been armed with two kitchen knives, “randomly selected” the victims, Dortmund prosecutors’ office spokesman Henner Kruse told reporters.

A 30-year-old assistant professor who was among those attacked while attending a conference was in hospital in a critical condition and doctors feared the worst. 

A 22-year-old student had suffered eight stab wounds to the stomach and needed emergency surgery, but her condition was not life threatening.

The other two victims, a 22-year-old man and another young woman of the same age, were less seriously injured, he added.

The suspect, a student at the university in the western German city of Hamm, said after the attack that he had felt threatened by a group of students who, according to him, wanted to “annihilate him”.

He was possibly suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia” and “hallucinations”, Kruse said, adding that he had a long history of treatment for mental health problems.

The police had ruled out any political or religious motives for the attack and an investigation for attempted murder and serious injury had been opened against him.

The WDR broadcaster, has reported that the suspect released himself from a psychiatric ward shortly before the stabbings, where he had been treated after a suicide attempt. He was in the psychiatric ward voluntarily because of self-harm and not by force or by a police order.

On Friday, the Ham police force wrote on Twitter that they were conducting a “major operation” in the area of the Hamm-Lippstadt University of Applied Sciences, asking people to avoid the area. The Dortmund police force have since taken over the investigation.

According to the WDR broadcaster, the 34-year-old suspect went into the university building around 3:30pm on Friday. He attacked students with a knife in the corridors and then headed for a larger lecture hall with a lecture in progress, where students managed to restrain him. 

The first emergency services were on site just three minutes after the first emergency calls. Students held the suspect until the police arrived, WDR reported.

It is unclear whether the university will open as usual on Monday.

“We can’t imagine going back to normal standard operations on Monday. That wouldn’t be appropriate either,” the chancellor of the university, Sandra Schlösser, told WDR.

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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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