Today (30 April) Werner Hoyer, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, thanked members of the Federal Police Special Forces (GSG 9). These officers were responsible for providing security at the German Embassy in Baghdad from 2003 to 2009.
Speaking at the ceremony at the Bonn branch of the Federal Foreign Office, Minister of State Hoyer stated:
“Without the commitment of these officers, it would not have been possible to re-open our embassy in Baghdad in 2003. They were the ones that enabled the Federal Foreign Office staff to carry out their work under extremely difficult conditions.”
Minister of State Hoyer also took the time to remember the two GSG 9 officers, Thomas Hafenecker and Tobias Retterath, who lost their lives in the line of duty in Iraq in 2004:
“This mission cost Thomas Hafenecker and Tobias Retterath their lives. We honour and remember them with the greatest respect and offer our sincere condolences to their families.”
The GSG 9 operation in Baghdad ended in January 2010. By that point, over 160 officers of the GSG 9 had served in Iraq. Since the beginning of this year, the German Embassy in Baghdad has been protected by a new Federal Police unit.
The security situation in Iraq remains highly critical. Recently the German Embassy itself was the target of an attack on 4 April 2010 that claimed the lives of three people.