Germany agrees further compensation with families of Munich Olympics victims

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FILE PHOTO: The entrance of the house where eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team were kidnapped and then killed by the radical Palestinian group Black September, during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, in Munich

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has reached agreement on further compensation for families of Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, a joint statement by the German and Israeli presidents said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the families said they were unhappy with the latest German compensation offers and that they planned to boycott a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the attack in protest.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, citing Germany's news agency DPA, said on Wednesday compensation of 28 million euros ($28.02 million) had been discussed, of which the federal government would cover 22.5 million euros.

The German government did not confirm the amounts, saying the talks with the victims' representatives were confidential.

"With this agreement, the German state acknowledges its responsibility and recognises the terrible suffering of the murdered (athletes) and their families," the joint statement by the two presidents said.

On Sept. 5, 1972, members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage at the poorly secured athletes' village by Palestinian gunmen from the radical Black September group.

Within 24 hours, 11 Israelis, five Palestinians and a German policeman were dead after a standoff and subsequent rescue effort erupted into gunfire.

The German interior ministry said earlier this month that the federal government, the state of Bavaria and city of Munich had decided to offer the families more than payments that were reportedly made soon after the massacre.

The Times of Israel reported that immediately after the massacre, Germany made payments to the relatives of the victims amounting to about 4.19 million German marks (about 2 million euros) and that in 2002, the surviving relatives received another 3 million euros.

Since the end of the Nazi Holocaust and World War Two, during which some 6 million European Jews were murdered, Berlin has felt a special responsibility to make amends with Israel.

The German government also said it had agreed an overall concept for the historical documentation of the 1972 attack by a commission of German and Israeli historians.

"In doing so, Germany is fulfilling its historical obligation towards the victims and their families," government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said in a statement.

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(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Mark Heinrich)