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The victims of Munich...

Moshe Weinberg, 33 Wrestling Referee Yossef Romano, 31 Weightlifter Yossef Gutfreund, 40 Wrestling Referee David Berger, 28 Weightlifter

Mark Slavin, 18 Wrestler

Yaakov Springer, 51 Weightlifting Coach

Ze'ev Friedman, 28 Weightlifter

Amitzur Shapira, 40 Track Coach

Eliezer Halfin, 24 Wrestler

Kahat Shor, 53 Shooting Coach

Andre Spitzer, 27 Fencing Referee

The XXth Olympiad: On September 4, 1972, eight Palestinian terrorists from the PLO's Black September group broke into the Olympic Village in Munich, West Germany, taking hostages from the Israeli Olympic Team. In the initial attack, the terrorists shot to death two Israeli hostages. They then demanded the release of 236 prisoners incarcerated in Israel and Germany and their own safe passage to Cairo. During a poorly planned rescue mission by unprepared German authorities at a nearby airbase, the terrorists executed their nine bound hostages with automatic gunfire and hand grenades. In all, 11 Israelis were murdered, including David Berger, who held American citizenship. The next day, a memorial ceremony was held (in which the International Olympic Committee President never even referred to the 11 slain athletes) as the Olympic flag and those of most competing nations were flown at half-mast. Arab nations, however, demanded that their flags remain flying at full-mast. This was viewed by many as an endorsement of the terrorist massacre of the Israeli team. The Olympics continued that day. Prior to the attack, Israel had been denied a request to post a security detail with the Israeli Olympic Team, despite threats against the team. After the team was taken hostage, Israel was denied the opportunity to deploy a veteran hostage rescue unit. The Munich Massacre was only one of a worsening series of terrorist attacks against Israel in 1972. Less than two months later, West Germany freed the surviving Munich terrorists in a trade for a Lufthansa jet hijacked by Palestinians.

It was in this context that Israel launched its counter-terror campaign to track down those responsible for the Munich Massacre, disrupt their terrorist network and prevent future attacks against civilians.

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