The XXth Olympic Games were held in Munich, Germany in 1972. Tensions were high at these Olympics, because they were the first Olympic Games held in Germany since the Nazis hosted the Games in 1936. The Israeli athletes and their trainers were especially nervous; many had family members who had been murdered during the Holocaust or were themselves Holocaust survivors.
The first few days of the Olympic Games went smoothly. On September 4, the Israeli team spent the evening out to see the play, Fiddler on the Roof, and then went back to the Olympic Village to sleep. A little after 4 a.m. on September 5, as the Israeli athletes slept, eight members of the Palestinian terrorist organization, Black September, jumped over the six-foot high fence that encircled the Olympic Village.
The terrorists headed straight for 31 Connollystrasse, the building where the Israeli contingent was staying. Around 4:30 a.m., the terrorists entered the building. They rounded up the occupants of apartment 1 and then apartment 3. Several of the Israelis fought back; two of them were killed. A couple of others were able to escape out windows. Nine were taken hostage.
By 5:10 a.m., the police had been alerted and news of the attack had begun to spread around the world. The terrorists then dropped a list of their demands out the window; they wanted 234 prisoners released from Israeli prisons and two from German prisons by 9 a.m.
Negotiators were able to extend the deadline to noon, then 1 p.m., then 3 p.m., then 5 p.m.; however, the terrorists refused to back down on their demands and Israel refused to release the prisoners. A confrontation became inevitable.
At 5 p.m., the terrorists realized that their demands were not going to be met. They asked for two planes to fly both the terrorists and the hostages to Cairo, Egypt, hoping a new locale would help get their demands met. The German officials agreed, but realized that they could not let the terrorists leave Germany. Desperate to end the standoff, the Germans organized Operation Sunshine, which was a plan to storm the apartment building. The terrorists discovered the plan by watching television. The Germans then planned to attack the terrorists on their way to the airport, but again the terrorists found out their plans.
Around 10:30 p.m., the terrorists and hostages were transported to the Fürstenfeldbruck airport by helicopter. The Germans had decided to confront the terrorists at the airport and had snipers waiting for them. Once on the ground, the terrorists realized there was a trap. Snipers started shooting at them and they shot back. Two terrorists and one policeman were killed. Then a stalemate developed. The Germans requested armored cars and waited for over an hour for them to arrive.
When the armored cars arrived, the terrorists knew the end had come. One of the terrorists jumped into a helicopter and shot four of the hostages, then threw in a grenade. Another terrorist hopped into the other helicopter and used his machine gun to kill the remaining five hostages. The snipers and armored cars killed three more terrorists in this second round of gunfire. Three terrorists survived the attack and were taken into custody.
Less than two months later, the three remaining terrorists were released by the German government after two other Black September members hijacked a plane and threatened to blow it up unless the three were released.
Israel is taking measures to make sure that another slaughter of their Olympians does not happen.
Agents from Israel’s elite intelligence organisation, Mossad, are hunting Iranian-backed terrorists in Europe, who are allegedly planning an “anniversary” attack 40 years after the Munich massacre, Britain’s The Sunday Times reports.
The fears come as tensions rise over the International Olympic Committee refusal to commemorate the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists on September 5, 1972.
In preparation for an Olympic terror assault, panic rooms for VIPs and spectators have been set up beneath London’s Olympic Stadium to protect them from being taken hostage or killed, according to The Sunday Times.
The paper also claims that if an attack occurred on the stadium, security forces would “invacuate” key people, rushing them to safety inside the attack zone.
An estimated 50,000 VIPs will attend the Games, including a reported 140 heads of state, 200 government ministers, 100 royals and 150 members of the International Olympic Committee.
A ring of steel has been set up to protect the Games, including snipers on the stadium roof and lighting towers and airborne radiation detecting equipment.
The world watched in horror in 1972 when Palestinian terrorists scaled the fences of the Athletes Village in Munich and killed two Israeli athletes and took another nine hostage.
After German forces bungled an ambush at the military airport, the terrorists shot the athletes and threw a grenade into their helicopter to ensure they were dead.
A global campaign – backed by US president Barack Obama – has pushed for a minute of silence during London’s Opening Ceremony to honour the victims.
But IOC president Jacques Rogge rejected the proposals, saying that it was inappropriate to commemorate the deaths at the Olympics.
“We feel that the Opening Ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” he told a press conference.
He added that some IOC delegates would attend a memorial on September 5 at the German military airport of Furstenfeldbruck where the killing took place.
“We are going to pay a homage to the athletes, of course, as we always have done in the past and will do in the future,” he said.
That’s alright, President Rogge. The world still remembers.
And, we’ll be watching…and praying.