Thirty years ago, on September 5, 1972, the most tragic accident over the whole Olympic history occurred at the XX Olympic Games in Munich. Eight armed terrorists belonging to the Black September terrorist movement rushed into an Olympic Village hotel early in the morning, at 3:30 a.m. Eight Israeli athletes were taken hostages, two more were killed right at the accident site. The terrorists claimed that 200 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel should be released, otherwise all hostages would be killed.
Negotiations lasted for about twenty hours, which drew attention of the whole world to the Munich Olympic Village. The negotiations were broadcast on TV. At first, the terrorists demanded that the claims were to be fulfilled before the noon, later, the deadline was postponed till 5:00 p.m. Israel couldn’t fulfill demands of the terrorists. Finally, the terrorists demanded a plane with a crew to escape to Morocco or Egypt. Soon after 10:00 a.m., the terrorists with the hostages were given two helicopters to reach Furstenfeldbrucke military aerodrome. A Boeing-757 was already ready for them at the aerodrome. At the same time, Bayern police was going to launch a special release operation.
However, someone was right when he said that Europe was not ready for terrorist manifestations of this kind, German leaders lacked decision, all actions in the situation were ill-coordinated. As a result, the operation failed. A skirmish broke out at the aerodrome, all Israeli hostages, five Palestinians and two Germans (a policeman and a helicopter pilot) were killed. Remains of ten killed athletes were delivered to Israel. Mourning was declared at the Olympic Games.
A documentary One Day in September by Kevin McDonald dedicated to the tragedy at the Olympics appeared in Germany in 1999.
In several weeks, three Palestinians who managed to stay alive, were exchanged for new hostages who had been captured when a Germany’s Damask-Frankfurt plane was hijacked and landed in Libya. Hijackers from Black September demanded that terrorists should be released from a Munich jail. The latter departed from Tripoli, where they disappeared without a trace. The Palestinians held a press-conference before that to say about the year of 1967, they were happy that the whole of the world had learnt about the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. The Palestinians declared they would continue the struggle for their rights.
Israeli special services in their turn have been tracking down and liquidating organizers of the action within the framework of a Retribution special anti-terrorist operation. Several official Palestinian representatives were liquidated in Europe and Middle East. One of the operations was commanded by former prime minister of Israel Ehud Barak.
Igor Tufeld with Vestnik Online wrote: “Right after the Munich massacre, Israeli security service, MOSAD, started preparation of a retribution operation by order of the prime minister. Three or four groups were created for this purpose. Officers from the Israeli defense army and specially trained in MOSAD were in every group. The security service compiled a list of 11 terrorists who had been connected to the Olympic tragedy in Munich. No exact date of the operation was fixed. Right before the operation, members of all groups had to sign documents on voluntary dismissal from MOSAD, after that, a contract on realization of a special task was concluded. That was done so that Israel couldn’t be blamed for violation of the international law if some of the operation members were arrested. So, it looked as if members of the operation acted independently and had no connection to the Israeli state.”
The retribution operation lasted for nine years. Only one man from the black list, doctor Wadi Hadad who was an active participant of international acts of terrorism, remained intact in the course of the operation. He died a natural death of a cancerous growth in 1978.