Germany imposes no-fly zone over central Berlin

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 August 2005, BERLIN - A no-fly zone over downtown Berlin was proclaimed Friday, a week after a terrorist scare when a man suspected of murder apparently killed himself by crashing a plane there.

1 August 2005

BERLIN - A no-fly zone over downtown Berlin was proclaimed Friday, a week after a terrorist scare when a man suspected of murder apparently killed himself by crashing a plane there.

Interior Minister Otto Schily announced after meeting with his transport and defence counterparts that the restriction would come into effect on August 1. The zone would comprise the area inside the city's inner mass-transit rail ring, which is visible from the air.

He said the move would allow police helicopters to chase away offenders but there were no plans to use air force fighter jets to shoot down aerial intruders. Airliners flying to and from Berlin airports will still be allowed to fly over the area.

Light aircraft will also have to carry radar transponders to make it easier for air traffic control towers to 'see' them.

The July 22 crash on a lawn between the Reichstag parliament building and the offices of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder shocked Germans and raised fears that terrorists could employ the same method.

The pilot, 39, was killed when his biplane slammed into the ground. Police had interviewed him about the disappearance of his wife. Her body was found several days later at a family property.

Schily said the changes in regulations were purely precautionary, with federal police saying they had no intelligence to suggest terrorists planned to use light planes to attack Germany.

An exclusion order in the area, which contains many ministerial office buildings and parliamentary sites, would give police several minutes of warning that an aerial intruder was up to no good and enable them to evacuate buildings.

Schily said Germany was likely to introduce similar no-fly zones over the football stadiums where World Cup matches will be played next year. Berlin civic officials said they hoped exceptions would be allowed for joyrides over the central city.

DPA

Subject: German news

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