The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Islamist Terrorism Part III

The Munich Massacre occurred at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, when 11 members of the Israeli wrestling team were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists. A failed liberation attempt led to the deaths of all the athletes, five terrorists, and one policeman.
The Attack
At 04:30 on September 5, five terrorists of the Palestinian organization Black September (with links to the PLO, the PFLP and the DFLP, although the PLO ultimately declared war on Black September) scaled a short chain-link fence encompassing the Munich Olympic village to enter Israeli quarters, converging with three more along the way. Cloaked in masks and armed with heavy assault rifles, they quickly overcame what little resistance the sleeping Israelis could offer and took eleven hostages: David Berger, Ze'ev Friedman, Joseph Gottfreund, Eliezer Halfin, Joseph Romano, Andrei Schpitzer, Amitsur Shapira, Kahat Shor, Mark Slavin, Yaakov Springer, and Moshe Weinberg. Weinberg received a gunshot wound in the initial struggle, and Romano soon thereafter. Both would later perish.
Over the ensuing 19 hours the world witnessed a display of incompetence by West German police so stunning and embarrassing that it ultimately provided the direct impetus for the creation of GSG-9, Germany's counter-terrorism unit.
The terrorists demanded the release and safe emigration of 232 Arab radicals in Israeli control, and an additional two in German prisons. Israel's response was immediate and absolute: there would be no negotiation.
Execution deadlines shifted first by three hours, and then by five more as German authorities attempted to negotiate. The terrorists demanded transportation to Cairo. The Germans capitulated, and two helicopters transported both the terrorists and their hostages to nearby Fürstenfeldbruck airbase, where a 727 was waiting for them.
Two terrorists were to check the suitability of the plane, and then return to the helicopters. As they walked back across the tarmac to release the German helicopter pilots, five German snipers positioned nearby opened fire. It was now 23:00.
The result was chaotic and calamitous. Two Arabs near the pilots fell immediately, and a third as he fled. Three more began to return fire from the shadows of the helicopters, beyond the visual range of the snipers. A German policeman quickly succumbed to wild assault rifle salvos. The battle then turned into a protracted 45-minute struggle, until a unit of German armoured cars encroached on the terrorists' position.
Crime scene photo were Olympic hostages were killed in Munich, 1972.
Threatened, a terrorist opened fire on hostages from within the first helicopter, prompting two more to emerge from the shadows. He then leapt from the aircraft, leaving a grenade in his place. All three Arabs fell to sniper fire, but the subsequent explosion killed the hostages inside. A fourth terrorist slaughtered the remaining five hostages in the second helicopter immediately thereafter.
In the aftermath, German authorities captured and imprisoned the three surviving terrorists. This limited success was overshadowed two months later when, on October 29, a Lufthansa jet was hijacked and a demands made for the release of the Munich three — and they were released, without consultation with Israel. Speculation persists that the hijacking was a set-up intended to ease Germany's humiliating failure at Fürstenfeldbruck. This was later confirmed in a U.S. documentary by a Palestinian guerrilla involved in the massacre. At the time, he was the only one not yet assassinated by Mossad.
Shortly after the massacre a german counter-terrorism unit, GSG 9, was formed to prevent such events in the future.
Casket of one of the victims of the massacre.
In the twenty years after 1972, Israel's intelligence agency and paramilitary group Mossad has "enacted terminal reprisal on" (that is to say, killed) at least eight of the 11 Palestinians implicated in the attack, and one accidental assassination in what became the Lillehammer affair. All 11 are now dead. Only Mohammed Daoud Oudeh (Abu Daoud), the man who thought up the attack, remains alive in Amman, Jordan. He has claimed that funds for the massacre were provided by Mahmoud Abbas. IOC president Avery Brundage allowed the Games to continue after a brief remembrance service in the Olympic Stadium. The decision was criticized by many. However, despite extensive press coverage of the Massacre, only a small number of athletes left the Games after the attack. As Brundage said, "the Games must go on".
See also
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TWA Flight 841 in the news
On September 8, 1974, TWA Flight 841 took off from Tel Aviv, Israel, en route to JFK International Airport. It was scheduled to land in Athens, followed by Rome, and then proceed to New York. After stopping for 68 minutes in Athens, it departed for Rome.
However, 18 minutes after takeoff, the plane exploded and crashed into the Ionian Sea. All 79 passengers and nine crew members were killed.
Although the idea of terrorism was initially scoffed at, the National Transportation Safety Board determined later that the plane was destroyed by a bomb hidden in the cargo hold. A youth organization in Beirut claimed the blast, and suspicion has fallen on Abu Nidal and his terror organization.

January 12(1976) - UN Security Council votes 11-1 to admit the Palestinian Liberation Organization

Operation Entebbe, actually called Operation Thunderball/Thunderbolt (and afterwards renamed Operation Jonathan after the raid commander, Col. Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu, who died in it) took place on the night of July 3 and early morning of July 4, 1976.
Seven days before, Air France Flight 139, having taken off from Athens, Greece with destination Paris, France was hijacked, diverted to Benghazi, Libya airport and eventually forced to land at Entebbe, Uganda airport.
The hijackers were 8 PLO and 2 Baader-Meinhof Gang members. They were apparently supported by the Ugandan regime of pro-Palestinian Idi Amin.
The passengers were held hostage in the Old Terminal's transit hall. The terrorists later released a large number of them, keeping only Israelis and Jews, which they threatened with death in case the Israeli government would not comply with their captors' demand to release Palestinian prisoners.
Upon the announcement by the captors that the crew and the non-Jewish passengers would be released and put on another Air-France plane that was brought to Entebbe for that purpose, Flight 193 Captain Michel Bacos announced to the captors that all passengers, including the remaining ones, were his responsibility, and that he would not leave them behind. His entire crew, down to the most junior flight attendant, followed him of their own free will (upon their return to Paris, Bacos was reprimanded for this by his superiors at Air-France, and suspended from duty for a period). A French nun also refused to leave, and insisted that one of the remaining hostages take her place, but was forced into the awaiting Air-France plane by Ugandan soldiers.
After days of collecting intelligence and careful planning, four Hercules transport aircraft flew down and night-landed without any aid from the ground at Entebbe airport to free the remaining hostages. They were followed by an air force jet with medical facilities flying into Nairobi, Kenya airport.
Over a hundred IDF troops including members of the elite Sayeret Matkal team arrived to conduct the assault; some Mossad troops might have taken part in the assault as well.
They landed an hour before midnight, with cargo bay doors already open. A black Mercedes with accompanying jeeps were brought along to avoid suspicion while the Israeli troops drove from the landed plane to the terminal building: this would look like a company of Idi Amin or another high official with escort.
The raid lasted only about three minutes and six terrorists were killed. One hostage was killed when he leaped at the Israeli forces. Of the 103 hostages, three died. It is speculated that Israeli forces captured some of the terrorists but there is no confirmation of that. Ugandan forces also opened fire on Israeli troops killing Col. Netanyahu. 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed during the raid and the Ugandan fighter planes sitting on the ramp were put into non-flying condition. The rescued hostages were flown out shortly after the fighting via Nairobi to Israel.
There was one other fatality: Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old hostage, was recovering from a choking episode in a Kampala hospital when the Israelis struck. In April, 1987, Henry Kyemba, who was Uganda's Health Minister at the time of Entebbe, told Uganda's Human Rights Commission that Dora Bloch had been dragged from her hospital bed and murdered by two army officers on the orders of Amin. Bloch's remains were recovered in 1979 following the Tanzanian-Ugandan War which had resulted in the end of Amin's rule of Uganda.


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