Munich Massacre


Munich Massacre
   On 5 September 1972, 8 members of the Black September faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization broke into the competitors' residence at the Munich, Germany, Summer Olympic Games and took 13 Israeli athletes hostage. Two of the athletes escaped, while two others were killed in countering the initial attack. The remaining 9 Israelis were held hostage by the terrorists, who sought to exchange them for Israeli and West German cooperation in releasing 234 of their comrades incarcerated in Israeli and West German prisons and providing the terrorists with three airplanes and safe passage out of Germany. Faced with the refusal of both Israel and West Germany to release the 234 prisoners, the terrorists reduced their demands to one plane that was to fly them to Cairo, Egypt, where they threatened to execute the Israeli hostages if Israel did not release the Palestinian prisoners. While boarding the aircraft at the Munich airport, the terrorists were attacked by a West German antiterrorism unit. In the ensuing firefight, the terrorists killed their nine Israeli hostages and the German soldiers killed five of the eight terrorists; the other three terrorists were captured (but they were subsequently released in exchange for a hijacked Lufthansa airplane). The government of Prime Minister Golda Meir responded to the Munich attack by forming a special secret an-titerrorist unit mandated to hunt down and assassinate those responsible for organizing the Olympic massacre.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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