21:31 GMT +320 September 2019
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    Special forces police officers stand guard at an entrance of the main train station, following a shooting rampage at the Olympia shopping mall in Munich, Germany July 22, 2016

    Lack of Helicopters Stopped Counterterror Squad From Tackling Munich Shooting

    © REUTERS / Michael Dalder
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    Germany’s special counterterror team was unable to reach Munich in time to seize the shooter last month because police did not have enough helicopters, local media said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The BFE Plus force was set up last summer in the wake of the early 2015 massacres in Paris. It was specifically trained to assist the elite police unit GSG9 in event of terrorist attacks and conduct manhunts.

    But their deployment to Munich, the scene of July 22’s shooting by a lone gunman, failed because the GSG9 team had flown away on the only available helicopters to deal with a hostage crisis north of Munich, according to information obtained by German magazine Spiegel.

    The magazine said that federal police had complained about having not enough air transport after two police helicopters collided and crashed in 2013. They were never replaced.

    Police found no link between Munich shooter David Ali Sonboly, who killed nine people at a shopping mall, and terrorists. The young man had been a patient of a mental health clinic and was fascinated by mass shootings.

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