MUNICH: A German security guard has been arrested for making a Hitler salute in front of a group of Israeli athletes visiting a memorial to the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, police said on Wednesday.

The 16 athletes from the Israeli European Cham­pionships team were visiting the Olympic Park in Munich on Tuesday evening when the banned gesture was made, police said in a statement.

“One of the four security guards present was observed at around 7:20pm making a National Socialist gesture (forbidden ‘Hitler salute’),” the statement said.

Police immediately arre­sted the suspect, a 19-year-old from Berlin, and he has been banned from all further European Champion­ships events.

The athletes themselves had not noticed the gesture, they said.

The arrest comes at a sensitive time, with Munich hosting the European Cham­pionships ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Olympics massacre, in which 11 Israelis were murdered.

On Sept 5, 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.

The families of those killed have received 4.5 million euros in compensation but say it is not enough and have vowed to boycott upcoming commemorations of the tragedy.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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