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CRIME

Trial starts of men who put cement blocks on Autobahn ‘out of boredom’

Two young men went on trial on Monday on an attempted murder charge. Prosecutors allege that the men placed heavy objects on streets around Bremen with the aim of killing people.

Trial starts of men who put cement blocks on Autobahn ‘out of boredom’
Photo: DPA

The men – aged 24 and 25 – would place slabs of cement, pieces of wood with nails in them or heavy chunks of brick onto the road at night, prosecutors allege. Sometimes they would place the objects on the road in the northern city, on other occasions they would place them on entry roads to the Autobahn, the Hannoversche Allgemeine reports.

Police became so concerned by the repeated incidents at one entry road to the Autobahn that they took the measure of reducing the speed limit on it after dark.

On one occasion the men placed a 30 kilogramme cement holder for a road sign on its edge directly in the middle of the road.

Prosecutors say that the crimes took place between 2015 and 2017. The most serious consequence of the reckless crimes was causing a young woman to lose control of her car and crash. Other incidents led to damage to cars.

Investigators were able to arrest the men after they found the DNA of one of them one a plank of wood with nails sticking out of it. Officers arrested the men near the place where the wood was found and were able to match the DNA sample.

A search of their homes found a shelf system from which the offending piece of wood had been cut.

The men have admitted to the crimes, saying they acted out of boredom, frustration and due to stress in their private lives.

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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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