BERLIN (AP) — The commander of a German paramilitary unit that ended the 1977 hijacking of a plane by Palestinian militants has died.

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 Summer Olympics in Munich.

It gained international renowned 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 modeled on military units like Britain's SAS, but remains part of the civilian federal police force.

The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that Wegener died on Dec. 28. He was 88.

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

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