By Munich bombing , also known as Munich Massacre, is understood the terrorist action carried out by the Palestinian group Black September , on September 5, 1972, against athletes from the Israeli delegation who were participating in the Olympic Games of that year. In all, seventeen people died in that attack:six trainers and five athletes from Israel, five Black September terrorists and a policeman from Germany Western , of which Munich was a part at the time.
Palestinian terrorism by the Black September group
To understand the Munich bombing, it is necessary to know the organization that designed and executed it, Black September . The Black September organization was formed in the late 1970s by members of Islamic radicalism who fought in other Palestinian organizations such as Fatah and theOLP (Organization for the Liberation of Palestine ). Its founder was Ali Hassan Salameh .
Black September was known for carrying out several terrorist actions in the 1970s, as well as for having established connections in various places, from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. One of these connections was with the German revolutionary communist group Red Army Faction (RAF – Rote Armee Fraktion ).
Some members of the Red Army Faction were trained by Black September in North Africa. Some investigators point out that the communists of the RAF would have facilitated the entrance of the Palestinian terrorists in Munich, in 1972.
Invasion of Olympic Village and kidnapping of Jews
Black September's plan consisted of kidnapping members of the Israeli Olympic delegation and, in their possession, negotiating the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners who were in Israeli prisons, as well as of two members of the Red Army Faction, arrested from Germany.
Eight terrorists entered the Olympic Village by climbing over the fences that protected it (there was no care with security as there is today in sporting events) and carrying bags with rifles, pistols and grenades. When they invaded the building where some members of the Israeli delegation were staying, the terrorists were surprised by the reaction of two of them - being a veteran of the Six Day War , Yosef Roman .
In the meantime, Romano and his companion were killed. Three others managed to escape, but nine were held hostage by the terrorists, who demanded the release of detainees accused of terrorism from the German and Israeli authorities. As the answer was negative, the terrorists changed their strategy:they demanded a plane that could evacuate everyone (terrorists and hostages) to the city of Cairo, Egypt.
The idea was to leave the Olympic Village in a helicopter that would be taken to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base , in Bavaria. On that basis, the required plane would be made available.
German police attempted an ambush before the helicopter left Munich, but were forced to abort the mission. The helicopter took them all to the air base. When they arrived there, another plan was devised by the Germans:to put hidden agents on the plane who would try to neutralize the terrorists when they came to inspect it.
The strategy resulted in tragedy. One of the terrorists noticed movement inside the plane and started shooting. The others, realizing the ambush, threw their grenades at the helicopter where the athletes were. All nine died instantly.
Israeli Response:The “Wrath of God”
At the time, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized Israel's intelligence service, the Mossad , performing the operation known as “Anger from God” , which consisted in the hunting and elimination of all those involved in the Munich bombing, as well as the main Black September leaders.
*Image credits:Shutterstock and Aija Lehtonen
By Me. Claudio Fernandes