German commando who helped end 1977 plane hijacking dies

The commander of a German paramilitary unit which ended the 1977 hijacking of a plane by Palestinian militants has died aged 88.

Ulrich Wegener was the first commander of the GSG-9 unit, created in response to German security services' failure to prevent the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

GSG-9 gained international renown with the storming of the Lufthansa jet Landshut in Mogadishu, Somalia, without any loss of life among the 86 hostages or commandos.

The GSG-9 was modelled on military units like the UK's SAS, but remains part of the civilian federal police force.

The interior ministry said Mr Wegener died on December 28.

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere praised Wegener as "an outstanding policeman who did enormous amounts for Germany's security".

KEYWORDS: Germany, 1977


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