Report: One of the Munich Terrorists Lived in Berlin After 1972 Attack

A member of the Arab Commando group which seized members of the Israeli Olympic Team at their quarters at the Olympic Village appearing with a hood over his face stands on the balcony of the building where the commandos held members of the Israeli team hostage in Munich, Sept. 5, 1972. (AP Photo/Kurt Strumpf, File)

German police knew that one of the Palestinians who took Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Munich Olympics lived in Berlin for several years following the attack, the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily reported on the weekend.

On Sept. 5, 1972, eight terrorists of the Palestinian group Black September stormed into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage. West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

The three remaining Black September operatives were captured, but released weeks later after gunmen hijacked a Lufthansa plane on Oct. 29, 1972, to demand their release.

Incensed by the chain of events, Israel subsequently launched the operation “Wrath of G-d” to hunt down and kill, the leaders of Black September.

On Saturday, the German daily said that one of the three Palestinians who was released, then lived for years in Berlin, citing a report in Munich police archives.

According to the report, the Munich police – which was in charge of investigating the attack – was told by the BKA federal police that the Palestinian in question was living in West Berlin and that he crossed into East Berlin almost on a daily basis, to work at the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) there.

Following the release of the three hostage-takers, a theory made the rounds, that then West Germany had facilitated the release in order to avoid any more attacks by Palestinian militants on its territory.

“We can pose the question if the police really wanted to act or if they wanted to give up arresting someone to avoid a new attack by Palestinian militants in West Germany,” German historian Dominik Aufleger, who had access to the same documents as the paper for his research on the attack, told the paper.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the attack this September, Germany sought “forgiveness” from families of the Israeli victims agreeing to provide $28 million in compensation.

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