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Surprising 7: Black September in Munich

The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich were well underway in an open and friendly atmosphere. Although it may seem unimaginable now, the athletes came and went from the Olympic Village without presenting identification; sometimes they simply climbed over the surrounding fence. Therefore, none of the guards became suspicious when eight people climbed the fence around 4.30. a.m. on the 5th of September. Apparently, these people were the heavily armed members of Black September, a Palestinian terrorist organization.

The terrorists shot to death two people and demanded safe passage to Egypt and the release of 234 prisoners jailed in Israel. The German authorities feigned agreement to the terrorists’ so the hostages and terrorists were transported by helicopter to the airport near Fürstenfeldbruck, a NATO airbase, around 10.30 p.m.

However, the rescue attempt of the German authorities – being inexperienced in terrorist attacks – completely failed. A shooting broke out and all hostages, five terrorists, and one policeman were killed, while the three surviving, injured gunmen were captured by the police. Hundreds of journalists covered the hostage-taking. The most memorable pictures of the Munich Games were taken by Co Rentmeester.

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Terrorism. 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. pic: September 1972. An Arab guerilla of the "Black September" movement on a balcony waering a hooded face mask.

Olympic Games in Munich, September 1972.  An Arab guerilla of the “Black September” movement on a balcony wearing a hooded face mask.

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