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CRIME

Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

A 51-year-old man suspected of killing five people including a baby as his car tore through a busy shopping street in the German city of Trier has been remanded in police custody, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Suspect in police custody after car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier
Malu Dreyer (SPD), minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate, and the mayor of Trier, Wolfram Leibe (SPD), paid tribute to the victims on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The prosecutors had said the suspect, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident on Tuesday afternoon, could be placed in psychiatric care.

But a judge ruled on Wednesday that he should be placed in custody, though no details were given of a possible motive.

The suspect, a native of the quaint city of Trier in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate state, is accused of five counts of murder and 18 counts of attempted murder, the judge said.

READ ALSO: Baby among five killed as car runs down shoppers in German city of Trier

He is accused of tearing through the pedestrian zone in a silver SUV, killing five people including a nine-week-old baby and injuring 18 others, six of them seriously.

The victims also included three women aged 25, 52 and 73 and a 45-year-old man — the father of the baby who was killed.

The suspect was arrested at the scene and police were able to question him but said there were no indications of a religious or political motive.

Hundreds of people gathered on Wednesday morning around Trier's Porta Nigra Roman city gate to pay tribute to the victims, despite coronavirus restrictions.

“Let us maintain this solidarity that I am experiencing here, right now, in the weeks and months to come,” Trier mayor Wolfram Leibe said.

Rhineland-Palatinate state premier Malu Dreyer condemned the “terrible event here in this beautiful city”.

“Nothing, really nothing, can justify this brutal and terrible act,” she said.

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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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