Video:The Massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympicswith William Morgan
The 1972 Munich Olympics was the target of terrorist attacks by Black September Palestinian terrorists against the Israeli Olympic team. In this history video from About.com, learn about the tragic and global policy-changing events that transpired.See Transcript
Transcript:The Massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics
Hi, this is William Morgan with About.com and today we're going to talk about The 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre.
What was the Munich Massacre?
The Summer Olympics were the target of a terrorist attack which resulted in the deaths of 17 people. On September 5, eight members of the Palestinian terrorist's group Black September broke into the Olympic village to take members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage. Two were killed when they attempted to overtake the terrorists. Nine others were taken hostage.
What Were the Palestinian Terrorists Demanding?
The terrorists demanded that 234 Arab prisoners in Israel and two German terrorists in Frankfurt be released, as well as their own safe passage out of Germany. Germany negotiated a trip to a NATIO air base by helicopter where they were to board a passenger jet to take them to Egypt. In reality they were being led into an ambush by German authorities.
The German Anti-Terrorist Mission
Five sharpshooters had been positioned around the airport and German policeman were inside the aircraft. The plan was for the policeman inside the plane to overpower the two terrorist leaders when they inspected the aircraft. And then the sharpshooters would be given the orders to shoot the remaining terrorists guarding the hostages.
Unfortunately, the Germans believed there were only five terrorists instead of eight and none of the strike team members had the experience or training for such a mission. The five sharpshooters were selected because they shot competitively on weekends. Worse, the policeman inside the aircraft abandoned the mission without notifying their superiors.
When the two terrorist leaders discovered an empty aircraft they knew it was a set up and began running back to the helicopters. One sniper shot and wounded one of the leaders. The snipers were then ordered to fire on the four terrorists holding the two German helicopter pilots at gunpoint. Two were killed and two were wounded and this allowed the pilots to escape. A gun battle ensued in which one German police officer was killed.
How Did the Munich Massacre End?
Two Israeli intelligence officers tried to talk the terrorists into surrendering but were answered with gunfire. When armored vehicles arrived at the airport the terrorist decided they could not hold out any longer and killed the hostages. Three more terrorists were killed and three were captured. On October 29, a Lufthansa jet was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists demanding that the remaining Black September survivors be released. The Germans consented and the prisoners were flown to Libya.
Golda Meir and "Wrath of God"
Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir initiated a counterterrorist campaign called "Wrath of God" ordering the assassination of any Black September terrorists involved in the Munich Massacre. Seven months after the incident the German government created an elite anti-terrorist unit known as GSG9. Governments all over the world followed suit creating or reinstating antiterrorist units to be used in the event of future terrorist attacks.
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