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CRIME

Several wounded in knife attack on German train: police

Several people were wounded on Saturday in a knife attack on a high-speed train in Germany's Bavaria, local police said, adding the alleged perpetrator had been arrested.

Several wounded in knife attack on German train: police
The high speed train between Nuremberg and Regensburg stands stationary on Saturday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/vifogra

The motive for the attack on the passenger train, making its way from the Bavarian city of Regensburg to Hamburg, was not yet clear.

“According to preliminary information, several people were injured,” police in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz said in a statement, saying there was “no more danger”.

The Bild newspaper said at least three people had been hurt, two of them seriously.

A police spokeswoman said none of them had suffered life-threatening injuries.

‘Horrible’ attack

A man has been arrested, police said, without giving any more details.

According to Bild, the suspect is a 27-year-old man of “Arab origin” who may be suffering from psychiatric problems.

The ICE high-speed train was halted in the station of Seubersdorf in the south.

“This knife attack is horrible,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Twitter.

“I would like to thank everyone, especially the police and the train staff, for their brave action, which prevented something even worse from happening.

“The motive for the crime is still unclear and will now be determined.”

The attack took place at a tense time in Germany, which faces terror threats from jihadists and right-wing extremist groups.

Islamist suspects have committed several violent attacks in recent years, the deadliest being a truck rampage at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that killed 12 people.

The Tunisian attacker, a failed asylum seeker, was a supporter of the Islamic State jihadist group.

‘Radical Islamists’

Seehofer said earlier this year that German authorities had foiled 23 attempted attacks since 2000.

“Germany and Western Europe are still in the sights of radical Islamists,” he warned at the time.

Since 2013, the number of Islamists considered dangerous in Germany has increased fivefold to 615, according to the interior ministry.

Several attacks or attempted attacks were carried out by asylum seekers who arrived in Germany during the 2015 migration crisis.

Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the country’s doors to some 900,000 asylum seekers.

German officials believe the attackers planned their acts alone, unlike some of the attacks in France in 2015 that were ordered by the Islamic State jihadist group.

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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