Massacre in Munich

 

Three decades after the Munich Olympics hostage crisis, Abou Daoud, who planned the kidnapping of the Israeli athletes, tells Lara Marlowe his version of the events portrayed in Steven Spielberg's controversial new film

When the terrible denouement of the hostage crisis in Munich was broadcast on television screens around the world on the morning of September 6th, 1972, Palestinian refugee camps across the Middle East resounded with cries of joy. Eleven Israeli athletes, five Palestinian gunmen, a German policeman and a helicopter pilot were dead, but the Palestinians considered it victory. The attackers, from refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, had not given up, had not surrendered.

Within weeks, on orders from the then prime minister of Israel Golda Meir, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad began assassinating PLO figures. The story of the Israelis' revenge is recounted in Steven Spielberg's new film Munich, which opens in Ireland next Friday.

Two years before the Munich massacre, King Hussein's army had driven Yasser Arafat's Fatah out of Jordan. In the hope of lifting Palestinian spirits, Abu Iyad and Abu Daoud (whose real name is Mohamed Daoud Odeah) transformed the name of their defeat - Black September - into that of an avenging armed group which for three years struck Israelis in Europe.

Abu Iyad and Abu Daoud planned the Munich hostage-taking. Abu Iyad was murdered in Tunis in 1991. Although Abu Daoud was second on the hit-list drawn up by former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, he survived an assassination attempt and has reached the age of 79. He lives in Damascus, where he told The Irish Times his version of what happened in Munich.

In Israel and much of the West, Abu Daoud is regarded as a "terrorist mastermind". In the Arab world, he is a hero. When his autobiography Palestine: from Jerusalem to Munich was published in French in 1999, the Arab satellite television network Al Jazeera recorded a nine-hour interview with Abu Daoud. It has been re-broadcast twice, in entirety.

HEADS TURN WHEN Abu Daoud, who is nearly two metres tall, lumbers into the lobby of a Damascus hotel. You might mistake him for an ageing professor, or the retired lawyer that he trained to be.

"I don't like it," he says of the resuscitated "terrorist" label. "I am not a terrorist. I am a nationalist fighting for my rights."

Abu Daoud does not hesitate to wade into the moral swamp in which Spielberg's characters flail about. But unlike the semi-fictional Mossad agents, Abu Daoud is not one for soul-searching and anguish. More than 33 years after Munich, he quotes the old Arab saying that "blood brings blood". He wants justice, he says. Not revenge. Though he professes admiration for the two Israelis athletes who died at the outset, fighting the hostage-takers, and says he is sorry for Israeli and Palestinian deaths alike, he does not regret his own actions.

"We cannot fight a 'clean' war, targeting only Mossad or Israeli military, when they don't distinguish between civilians and military among us," Abu Daoud argued in the summer of 1972.

The Israelis had just assassinated Ghassan Khanafani, the editor of a magazine published by the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), along with his young niece, in retaliation for the group's attack on Lod airport in Tel Aviv. Two other Palestinian intellectuals were maimed by letter bombs. The eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth reciprocal blood-letting recounted in Munich was well under way before the Munich Olympics.

The Palestinians were demoralised after their retreat from Jordan to Lebanon. The Israelis retaliated for cross-border raids by bombing refugee camps in Lebanon where they said the fighters lived with their families, to the world's indifference.

"People were more interested in sports than in the plight of the Palestinians," Abu Daoud says. "In one sense, we succeeded in Munich: we forced our cause on to the television screens of 500 million households."

Abu Daoud rejects the widespread perception that Palestinians perpetrated a massacre in Munich, preferring to blame Golda Meir for refusing to consider a prisoner exchange, and the German security forces who negotiated a departure, then opened fire on the hostage-takers. But surely, I say, ultimate responsibility lies with the Palestinians who burst into the sleeping Israeli athletes' quarters at 4am on September 5th, 1972?

"We gave strict orders to our people not to kill anyone except in self-defence," Abu Daoud says. "If after 24 hours the Israelis did not accept our demands [ for the release of 234 - mostly Palestinian - prisoners], they were to ask for aircraft and take the athletes to an Arab country. If the Germans hadn't given in to Golda Meir, the Israelis and our people would still be alive today." It is not clear if the nine remaining Israeli hostages were killed by their Palestinian captors or by German gunfire. Abu Daoud wants to believe it was the Germans.

Abu Daoud claims the Israeli athletes were military reservists and hence "legitimate targets", while Palestinians killed in revenge by Mossad were innocent. The first two hit squad victims, Wael Zwaiter and Mahmoud Hamshari, were the representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Rome and Paris.

"I knew Zwaiter," Abu Daoud says. "He was a philosopher who always had a book under his arm. He never held a gun in his life." Hamshari, who was killed by a booby-trapped phone in his apartment, is also portrayed in Munich as a man of culture, with a beautiful wife and daughter.

"The Israelis wanted to eliminate anyone who conveyed a positive image of Palestinians," says Abu Daoud. At the end of Munich, the assassination squad leader "Avner" demands proof that the people he murdered really had anything to do with the attack on the athletes.

THE CARNAGE ON the tarmac at Munich's Furstenfeldbrück airport at dawn on September 6th, 1972, was in total contrast to the sunny afternoon some six weeks earlier when Abu Daoud, Abu Iyad and his assistant Fakri al-Omari (who would later die with him) sat at an outdoor café on the Piazza della Rotonda in central Rome. They were enraged by a newspaper article saying the International Olympic Committee had refused a Palestinian request to send a delegation to the Munich Olympics.

"So, since they won't let the Palestinians participate in the Games, why don't we enter the Olympics in our own way?" Fakri asked.

"What would we do there?" Abu Iyad asked.

"We'd seize Israeli athletes," Fakri replied.

From Rome, Abu Daoud flew to Munich on the first of several reconnaissance missions. Claiming to be Brazilian, he and the two lead Palestinian gunmen approached an Israeli woman outside the athletes' quarters, six days before the attack.

"I dream of visiting Israel," Abu Daoud told her. "My friends also dream of a vacation in Israel. We'd like some brochures about your country. Perhaps you could give us some little Israeli flags, for our children?" The athletes were out training or in competition, so the young woman gave the three Palestinians a guided tour of their quarters.

"She tried to make me look at her as a woman; at the time, I was rather handsome," Abu Daoud laughs.

One of the Mossad agents in Spielberg's film is lured to his death by an attractive Dutch prostitute. In real life, an Israeli woman unwittingly assisted in the killing of her colleagues because she fell for Abu Daoud's "Brazilian" charm and good looks.

"She wasn't bad," Abu Daoud recalls. "But I was on a mission. When I am on a mission, I set all my emotions aside."

Abu Daoud bought eight identical track-suits and Adidas sports bags for the gunmen. On the day before the attack, he filled each bag with a ski mask, rope for tying the hostages, a knife, tinned food, processed cheese, sandwiches and biscuits. Each Palestinian was given an assault rifle, spare cartridges and one or two hand grenades.

To protect Abu Daoud's identity, even the Palestinians - apart from the two commando leaders - were meant to believe he was a Brazilian sympathiser of the PLO. As he helped the last of the gunmen to scale the fence of the Olympic village, he was appalled to hear the young man say: "Thanks, Abu Daoud."

SPIELBERG'S CRITICS CLAIM he establishes a "moral equivalence" between Palestinian hostage-takers and Israeli assassins. Both sides hate being compared to each other, but there are parallels.

"The Israelis want to drive us off our land," Abu Daoud says, echoing the Israeli refrain of the Arabs wanting to drive them into the sea.

In the film, the Israeli hit squad leader "Avner" must account to his case officer for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he spends tracking down Palestinians.

In real life, Abu Daoud returned $500 and 37 marks left over from the Munich attack to the PLO's finance department. He estimates the entire Munich operation cost $4,000, not including the weapons supplied by Abu Iyad.

Abu Daoud is annoyed that Spielberg's film credits Ali Hassan Salameh, a flamboyant figure who was assassinated by Mossad in 1979, with planning Munich. Known as "the red baron", Salameh married Georgina Rizk, then the Lebanese Miss World.

Spielberg's film insinuates that Salameh worked for the CIA - an allegation made earlier in Abu Daoud's book. "What you did in Munich will go down in history. At every Olympic games they'll talk about it," Abu Daoud quoted Salameh in his book. Salameh led others to believe he planned the attack.

It is a measure of the prestige attached to Munich in Palestinian circles that the PFLP leader Wadiya Haddad, who specialised in airline hijackings, approached Abu Daoud in October 1972, saying: "I'm proud to shake the hand of the man who did Munich!"

Abu Daoud says Haddad hijacked a Beirut Frankfurt Lufthansa flight to Libya with German acquiescence through which three surviving Palestinian gunmen were freed and flown to Libya.

ASIDE FROM THE fact that Spielberg consulted no Palestinians who were involved, Abu Daoud's other grievance with the film is the omission of the story of Ahmed Bouchiki, the Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, whom the Israelis gunned down as he walked home from the cinema with his pregnant wife. Mossad had mistaken Bouchiki for Ali Hassan Salameh.

"It proves the Israelis were not professional," Abu Daoud sniffs.

Asked how he survived Golda Meir's death sentence against him, Abu Daoud grins. "Because I am more professional than they are," he replies.

In a hotel coffee shop in Warsaw, in August 1981, a gunman fired a 9mm Glock pistol into Abu Daoud's left wrist, followed by a shot to his jaw which still causes his lower lip to hang sideways. Five more bullets to his chest, stomach and side followed, but Abu Daoud pursued the gunman to the hotel door.

"I could have broken him in two, but I didn't go outside because I thought it might be an ambush. I came back to the lobby and sat bleeding until the ambulance came."

The PLO caught the gunman 10 years later, interrogated, tried and executed him. He was a Palestinian named Khaled, in his early 20s when he tried to kill Abu Daoud and murdered his close friend Issam Sartawi in Lisbon. "He was a Palestinian looking for money, recruited by Mossad," explains Abu Daoud.

That Khaled also worked for the renegade Palestinian extremist Abu Nidal was symptomatic of the netherworld of Middle East intelligence services and terrorist groups, where it is impossible to know with certainty who works for whom, who kills and why. Spielberg shows this dark confusion, when "Avner" fears his former Mossad colleagues may want to harm him.

Today, Abu Daoud is still stateless. He accepted the 1993 Oslo Accords and moved to Ramallah, in the West Bank. But after his book came out, the Israelis did not allow him to return from a trip to Jordan. The Jordanians refused to renew his expired passport in 2001. So he lives in Damascus, a Syrian driver's licence his only proof of identity.

Nearly three and a half decades after Munich, does Abu Daoud fear Israeli revenge?

"I don't care," he shrugs. "Although I drink whisky (which is against Islam), I think God will take the decision."

The architect of Munich shakes the ice cubes in his double Black Label on the rocks. "If I were the Israelis, I'd stop thinking about what Abu Daoud did 34 years ago," he muses. "The young people want to fight them. They should put Abu Daoud beside them. They need influential people who say peace is good. I would do it; I believe in it. If they give us our rights."

Munich opens in cinemas next Friday

July 1972 On learning that the International Olympics Committee has refused to accept a Palestinian delegation to the Munich Olympics, Black September leaders Abu Daoud and Abu Iyad, with Abu Iyad's assistant Fakri al-Omari, hatch the idea of seizing Israeli athletes.

July-August Abu Daoud makes reconnaissance trips to Munich, collecting maps, hotel names, flight timetables, and watching the construction of the Olympic village. Abu Iyad transports Kalashnikov assault rifles and hand grenades in checked luggage on international flights. Abu Iyad stores them in railway station lockers.

August 31st Six days before the assault, a member of the Israeli delegation unwittingly gives Abu Daoud and the two commando leaders "Che" Youssef Nazzal and Mohamed Musalha a guided tour of the Israeli athletes' quarters in Connolly-strasse.

September 5th Around 4am, eight Black September guerrillas encounter US athletes returning to the Olympic village from a party. Not knowing the Palestinians' intent, the Americans help them scale the high chain-link fence. Abu Daoud leaves them there, goes back to his hotel and later returns to watch the hostage crisis from within the crowd of photographers and television cameramen.

The eight gunmen break into the Israeli quarters and seize 11 athletes. Two are killed in the initial assault.

September 6th Hostage-takers and athletes are transported by helicopter to Furstenfeldbrück airport, outside Munich. Nazzal and Musalha break off from the group to inspect the aircraft they demand to fly the hostages to Egypt. German security forces shoot the two Palestinians and a gun battle breaks out.

The remaining nine Israelis, as well as five Palestinians and a German pilot and policeman are killed.

In the wake of the massacre, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir tells the head of Mossad to kill 11 PLO agents in revenge.

When the terrible denouement of the hostage crisis in Munich was broadcast on television screens around the world on the morning of September 6th, 1972, Palestinian refugee camps across the Middle East resounded with cries of joy. Eleven Israeli athletes, five Palestinian gunmen, a German policeman and a helicopter pilot were dead, but the Palestinians considered it victory. The attackers, from refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, had not given up, had not surrendered.

Within weeks, on orders from the then prime minister of Israel Golda Meir, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad began assassinating PLO figures. The story of the Israelis' revenge is recounted in Steven Spielberg's new film Munich, which opens in Ireland next Friday.

Two years before the Munich massacre, King Hussein's army had driven Yasser Arafat's Fatah out of Jordan. In the hope of lifting Palestinian spirits, Abu Iyad and Abu Daoud (whose real name is Mohamed Daoud Odeah) transformed the name of their defeat - Black September - into that of an avenging armed group which for three years struck Israelis in Europe.

Abu Iyad and Abu Daoud planned the Munich hostage-taking. Abu Iyad was murdered in Tunis in 1991. Although Abu Daoud was second on the hit-list drawn up by former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, he survived an assassination attempt and has reached the age of 79. He lives in Damascus, where he told The Irish Times his version of what happened in Munich.

In Israel and much of the West, Abu Daoud is regarded as a "terrorist mastermind". In the Arab world, he is a hero. When his autobiography Palestine: from Jerusalem to Munich was published in French in 1999, the Arab satellite television network Al Jazeera recorded a nine-hour interview with Abu Daoud. It has been re-broadcast twice, in entirety.

HEADS TURN WHEN Abu Daoud, who is nearly two metres tall, lumbers into the lobby of a Damascus hotel. You might mistake him for an ageing professor, or the retired lawyer that he trained to be.

"I don't like it," he says of the resuscitated "terrorist" label. "I am not a terrorist. I am a nationalist fighting for my rights."

Abu Daoud does not hesitate to wade into the moral swamp in which Spielberg's characters flail about. But unlike the semi-fictional Mossad agents, Abu Daoud is not one for soul-searching and anguish. More than 33 years after Munich, he quotes the old Arab saying that "blood brings blood". He wants justice, he says. Not revenge. Though he professes admiration for the two Israelis athletes who died at the outset, fighting the hostage-takers, and says he is sorry for Israeli and Palestinian deaths alike, he does not regret his own actions.

"We cannot fight a 'clean' war, targeting only Mossad or Israeli military, when they don't distinguish between civilians and military among us," Abu Daoud argued in the summer of 1972.

The Israelis had just assassinated Ghassan Khanafani, the editor of a magazine published by the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), along with his young niece, in retaliation for the group's attack on Lod airport in Tel Aviv. Two other Palestinian intellectuals were maimed by letter bombs. The eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth reciprocal blood-letting recounted in Munich was well under way before the Munich Olympics.

The Palestinians were demoralised after their retreat from Jordan to Lebanon. The Israelis retaliated for cross-border raids by bombing refugee camps in Lebanon where they said the fighters lived with their families, to the world's indifference.

"People were more interested in sports than in the plight of the Palestinians," Abu Daoud says. "In one sense, we succeeded in Munich: we forced our cause on to the television screens of 500 million households."

Abu Daoud rejects the widespread perception that Palestinians perpetrated a massacre in Munich, preferring to blame Golda Meir for refusing to consider a prisoner exchange, and the German security forces who negotiated a departure, then opened fire on the hostage-takers. But surely, I say, ultimate responsibility lies with the Palestinians who burst into the sleeping Israeli athletes' quarters at 4am on September 5th, 1972?

"We gave strict orders to our people not to kill anyone except in self-defence," Abu Daoud says. "If after 24 hours the Israelis did not accept our demands [ for the release of 234 - mostly Palestinian - prisoners], they were to ask for aircraft and take the athletes to an Arab country. If the Germans hadn't given in to Golda Meir, the Israelis and our people would still be alive today." It is not clear if the nine remaining Israeli hostages were killed by their Palestinian captors or by German gunfire. Abu Daoud wants to believe it was the Germans.

Abu Daoud claims the Israeli athletes were military reservists and hence "legitimate targets", while Palestinians killed in revenge by Mossad were innocent. The first two hit squad victims, Wael Zwaiter and Mahmoud Hamshari, were the representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Rome and Paris.

"I knew Zwaiter," Abu Daoud says. "He was a philosopher who always had a book under his arm. He never held a gun in his life." Hamshari, who was killed by a booby-trapped phone in his apartment, is also portrayed in Munich as a man of culture, with a beautiful wife and daughter.

"The Israelis wanted to eliminate anyone who conveyed a positive image of Palestinians," says Abu Daoud. At the end of Munich, the assassination squad leader "Avner" demands proof that the people he murdered really had anything to do with the attack on the athletes.

THE CARNAGE ON the tarmac at Munich's Furstenfeldbrück airport at dawn on September 6th, 1972, was in total contrast to the sunny afternoon some six weeks earlier when Abu Daoud, Abu Iyad and his assistant Fakri al-Omari (who would later die with him) sat at an outdoor café on the Piazza della Rotonda in central Rome. They were enraged by a newspaper article saying the International Olympic Committee had refused a Palestinian request to send a delegation to the Munich Olympics.

"So, since they won't let the Palestinians participate in the Games, why don't we enter the Olympics in our own way?" Fakri asked.

"What would we do there?" Abu Iyad asked.

"We'd seize Israeli athletes," Fakri replied.

From Rome, Abu Daoud flew to Munich on the first of several reconnaissance missions. Claiming to be Brazilian, he and the two lead Palestinian gunmen approached an Israeli woman outside the athletes' quarters, six days before the attack.

"I dream of visiting Israel," Abu Daoud told her. "My friends also dream of a vacation in Israel. We'd like some brochures about your country. Perhaps you could give us some little Israeli flags, for our children?" The athletes were out training or in competition, so the young woman gave the three Palestinians a guided tour of their quarters.

"She tried to make me look at her as a woman; at the time, I was rather handsome," Abu Daoud laughs.

One of the Mossad agents in Spielberg's film is lured to his death by an attractive Dutch prostitute. In real life, an Israeli woman unwittingly assisted in the killing of her colleagues because she fell for Abu Daoud's "Brazilian" charm and good looks.

"She wasn't bad," Abu Daoud recalls. "But I was on a mission. When I am on a mission, I set all my emotions aside."

Abu Daoud bought eight identical track-suits and Adidas sports bags for the gunmen. On the day before the attack, he filled each bag with a ski mask, rope for tying the hostages, a knife, tinned food, processed cheese, sandwiches and biscuits. Each Palestinian was given an assault rifle, spare cartridges and one or two hand grenades.

To protect Abu Daoud's identity, even the Palestinians - apart from the two commando leaders - were meant to believe he was a Brazilian sympathiser of the PLO. As he helped the last of the gunmen to scale the fence of the Olympic village, he was appalled to hear the young man say: "Thanks, Abu Daoud."

SPIELBERG'S CRITICS CLAIM he establishes a "moral equivalence" between Palestinian hostage-takers and Israeli assassins. Both sides hate being compared to each other, but there are parallels.

"The Israelis want to drive us off our land," Abu Daoud says, echoing the Israeli refrain of the Arabs wanting to drive them into the sea.

In the film, the Israeli hit squad leader "Avner" must account to his case officer for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he spends tracking down Palestinians.

In real life, Abu Daoud returned $500 and 37 marks left over from the Munich attack to the PLO's finance department. He estimates the entire Munich operation cost $4,000, not including the weapons supplied by Abu Iyad.

Abu Daoud is annoyed that Spielberg's film credits Ali Hassan Salameh, a flamboyant figure who was assassinated by Mossad in 1979, with planning Munich. Known as "the red baron", Salameh married Georgina Rizk, then the Lebanese Miss World.

Spielberg's film insinuates that Salameh worked for the CIA - an allegation made earlier in Abu Daoud's book. "What you did in Munich will go down in history. At every Olympic games they'll talk about it," Abu Daoud quoted Salameh in his book. Salameh led others to believe he planned the attack.

It is a measure of the prestige attached to Munich in Palestinian circles that the PFLP leader Wadiya Haddad, who specialised in airline hijackings, approached Abu Daoud in October 1972, saying: "I'm proud to shake the hand of the man who did Munich!"

Abu Daoud says Haddad hijacked a Beirut Frankfurt Lufthansa flight to Libya with German acquiescence through which three surviving Palestinian gunmen were freed and flown to Libya.

ASIDE FROM THE fact that Spielberg consulted no Palestinians who were involved, Abu Daoud's other grievance with the film is the omission of the story of Ahmed Bouchiki, the Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, whom the Israelis gunned down as he walked home from the cinema with his pregnant wife. Mossad had mistaken Bouchiki for Ali Hassan Salameh.

"It proves the Israelis were not professional," Abu Daoud sniffs.

Asked how he survived Golda Meir's death sentence against him, Abu Daoud grins. "Because I am more professional than they are," he replies.

In a hotel coffee shop in Warsaw, in August 1981, a gunman fired a 9mm Glock pistol into Abu Daoud's left wrist, followed by a shot to his jaw which still causes his lower lip to hang sideways. Five more bullets to his chest, stomach and side followed, but Abu Daoud pursued the gunman to the hotel door.

"I could have broken him in two, but I didn't go outside because I thought it might be an ambush. I came back to the lobby and sat bleeding until the ambulance came."

The PLO caught the gunman 10 years later, interrogated, tried and executed him. He was a Palestinian named Khaled, in his early 20s when he tried to kill Abu Daoud and murdered his close friend Issam Sartawi in Lisbon. "He was a Palestinian looking for money, recruited by Mossad," explains Abu Daoud.

That Khaled also worked for the renegade Palestinian extremist Abu Nidal was symptomatic of the netherworld of Middle East intelligence services and terrorist groups, where it is impossible to know with certainty who works for whom, who kills and why. Spielberg shows this dark confusion, when "Avner" fears his former Mossad colleagues may want to harm him.

Today, Abu Daoud is still stateless. He accepted the 1993 Oslo Accords and moved to Ramallah, in the West Bank. But after his book came out, the Israelis did not allow him to return from a trip to Jordan. The Jordanians refused to renew his expired passport in 2001. So he lives in Damascus, a Syrian driver's licence his only proof of identity.

Nearly three and a half decades after Munich, does Abu Daoud fear Israeli revenge?

"I don't care," he shrugs. "Although I drink whisky (which is against Islam), I think God will take the decision."

The architect of Munich shakes the ice cubes in his double Black Label on the rocks. "If I were the Israelis, I'd stop thinking about what Abu Daoud did 34 years ago," he muses. "The young people want to fight them. They should put Abu Daoud beside them. They need influential people who say peace is good. I would do it; I believe in it. If they give us our rights."

Munich opens in cinemas next Friday

July 1972 On learning that the International Olympics Committee has refused to accept a Palestinian delegation to the Munich Olympics, Black September leaders Abu Daoud and Abu Iyad, with Abu Iyad's assistant Fakri al-Omari, hatch the idea of seizing Israeli athletes.

July-August Abu Daoud makes reconnaissance trips to Munich, collecting maps, hotel names, flight timetables, and watching the construction of the Olympic village. Abu Iyad transports Kalashnikov assault rifles and hand grenades in checked luggage on international flights. Abu Iyad stores them in railway station lockers.

August 31st Six days before the assault, a member of the Israeli delegation unwittingly gives Abu Daoud and the two commando leaders "Che" Youssef Nazzal and Mohamed Musalha a guided tour of the Israeli athletes' quarters in Connolly-strasse.

September 5th Around 4am, eight Black September guerrillas encounter US athletes returning to the Olympic village from a party. Not knowing the Palestinians' intent, the Americans help them scale the high chain-link fence. Abu Daoud leaves them there, goes back to his hotel and later returns to watch the hostage crisis from within the crowd of photographers and television cameramen.

The eight gunmen break into the Israeli quarters and seize 11 athletes. Two are killed in the initial assault.

September 6th Hostage-takers and athletes are transported by helicopter to Furstenfeldbrück airport, outside Munich. Nazzal and Musalha break off from the group to inspect the aircraft they demand to fly the hostages to Egypt. German security forces shoot the two Palestinians and a gun battle breaks out.

The remaining nine Israelis, as well as five Palestinians and a German pilot and policeman are killed.

In the wake of the massacre, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir tells the head of Mossad to kill 11 PLO agents in revenge.