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OFFBEAT

Driver ‘didn’t know grenades were illegal’

Dortmund police found two Bundeswehr practice hand-grenades Wednesday night in the car of a 30-year-old man who had been driving around with the explosives in his possession for several years.

Driver 'didn't know grenades were illegal'
A real grenade. Photo: US Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

The man told police he had originally planned to detonate the practice grenades – which are used by Bundeswehr soldiers in training exercises – on a New Year’s Eve, when Germans traditionally embark on an orgy of fireworks lighting.

He was pulled over for a traffic check in the North Rhine-Westphalia city and aroused police officers’ suspicion that he had taken drugs. During a search of the car, the police found a rucksack containing drugs and one of the grenades. They found the second explosive in the pocket of one of the car’s doors.

The police alerted a bomb disposal expert as the grenades – which contain a smaller amount of explosives than normal grenades – could have caused serious injury if wrongly handed. Possession of such explosives is illegal outside of the Bundeswehr.

The 30-year-old claimed not to know this. He got the grenades several years ago, he said, from a member of the Bundeswehr personnel, whose name he did not know. Having not got around to detonating them on New Year’s Eve as planned, he had instead driven around for several years with the explosives in his car.

He was charged with weapons and drug offences as well as receiving stolen property.

DAPD/The Local/dw

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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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