In the Summer of 1972 the eyes of the world were fixed on Munich and a truly historic Olympic Games.
The West Germans were desperate to lay the ghost of Berlin 1936, the tournament hijacked by Adolf Hitler.
So this would be Die Heiteren Spiele – “the cheerful Games” – with a sunny logo and Waldi the dachshund mascot.
And, thanks to new satellite technology, sporting fans across the globe could enjoy the sports fest live.
But on September 5, 900 million watched these Games hijacked by evil too, and history written in blood, not the sweat and tears of sporting glory.
Eight heavily armed terrorists from Palestinian group Black September broke into apartments in the Olympic village taking 11 Israelis hostage.
The subsequent siege and bungled rescue bid left all the Israelis dead, along with five Palestinians and a German police officer.
The Munich Massacre, and Israel’s subsequent “Wrath of God” campaign of revenge assassinations, launched a whole new era of international terrorism that sparked 9/11, fanned the flames of the conflict in the Middle East and swept across Europe.
And now it’s threatening to engulf Jeremy Corbyn as his party’s anti-Semitism row burns on.
Because in 2014 he attended a ceremony in Tunisia where it is claimed a wreath was placed on the graves of Palestinians behind the Olympic atrocity .
The Labour leader has said that he does not think he was “actually involved”. He simply wanted “a fitting memorial to everyone who has died in every terrorist incident”.
And he claims the 2014 wreath-laying ceremony commemorated victims of an Israeli air strike on the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s headquarters in Tunis in 1985.
But Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – a former commando once shot in the shoulder by a Black September terrorist – is stoking the row.
So how did the Munich Massacre shape modern terrorism and why are film makers like Steven Spielberg – who made the 2006 drama Munich – drawn to retell the bloody story?
Black September was named after a bloody attack on the PLO by the Jordanians in September 1970.
The following year the PLO began a two-year campaign of murder, assassination, hostage takings and letter bomb attacks. But Munich made its name.
Just after 4am terrorists armed with grenades and assault rifles burst into an apartment and seized five officials and trainers: Yossef Gutfreund, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Andre Spitzer, Jacov Springer and Moshe Weinberg.
In another apartment they captured wrestlers and weightlifters Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Mark Slavin, David Berger and Zeev Friedman.
When the Israelis fought back, the terrorists opened fire, killing Romano and Weinberg. The other nine were beaten, taken hostage and forced to watch as Romano’s body was castrated.
The gang, led by Luttif Afif – codenamed Issa – and Yusuf Nazzal – Tony – then demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails, throwing Weinberg’s body out of the door to show they meant business.
They also demanded a plane to fly them and the hostages to the Middle East.
As the horror unfolded the Games were suspended and broadcasters beamed live footage of the siege to more than 100 countries.
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to give in to “blackmail of the worst kind” so the Germans began secretly planning an ambush at an airfield, to which the gang and their hostages had been flown by helicopter.
But staggering incompetence and cowardice led to a bloodbath.
Five untrained “snipers” were left to tackle eight well-armed terrorists – in the dark. And 16 German police dressed as crew realised they were on a suicide mission and abandoned their posts.
Then, after an hour-long shootout, the Germans sent armoured cars on to the tarmac and a gunner in one accidentally injured two colleagues.
The panicked terrorists opened fire on their tied-up captives and threw grenades into the helicopters, burning them beyond recognition.
But the bodies of the five dead Palestinians, including Issa and Tony, were flown back to the Middle East and given heroes’ funerals.
Simon Reeve, author of One Day in September explains: “The unprecedented attack, siege and massacre had a huge impact. In many ways it was the 9/11 of the 1970s.
“Suddenly the world realised terror was not confined to the Middle East.
“For Israel, the sight of Jews dying again on German soil, just a few decades after the Holocaust, was simply too much. Israel struck back hard. Warplanes bombed Palestinian ‘military bases’, killing many militants, but also scores of innocent civilians and children.
“Hundreds of Palestinians joined militant groups in response.”
The three terrorists who survived were jailed awaiting trial but were freed in October in a hostage exchange when a Lufthansa plane was hijacked.
Many believe the Germans colluded with Black September over the terrorists’ release to stop any further attacks on their nation.
This suspected collusion infuriated Golda Meir who ordered the formidable Israeli secret service, Mossad, to launch Operation Wrath of God. The aim – to track down and kill all those responsible for Munich.
Reeve says: “Over the next 20 years Israeli agents killed dozens of Palestinians. They hid landmines under car seats, devised ingenious bombs and claim to have killed two of the three terrorist survivors of Munich.”
But what became of the third?
Jamal al-Gashey went into hiding, in North Africa or Syria, knowing he would always be an Israeli target.
However, in 1999, he emerged briefly to appear in a documentary that won an Oscar. He was heavily disguised, shown only in shadow and claimed: “Before Munich, the world had no idea about our struggle, but on that day, the name of Palestine was repeated all around the world.”
However, many other Palestinian with no links to Black September were also eliminated by the Wrath of God.
In one outrageous mission the Israeli SAS were sent into Beirut to killed three senior officials.
The mission leader was disguised as a woman in black with hand grenades hidden in his bra.
The vengeance mission went on and on. But, Reeve says: “Only a couple of the Palestinians shot or blown to pieces appear to have been directly connected with the Olympic attack.
“Golda Meir set a precedent for wholesale use of murder as a counterterrorism policy by authorising an assassination campaign in the aftermath of Munich.”
Reeve says that, until September 11, 2001, Israel was the only democratic nation obviously taking out terrorists in targeted attacks.
But 9/11 changed all that. George W Bush launched his war on terror and the CIA had an authorised “kill list”. And officials even began studying the Israeli revenge campaign for tips on targeting al-Qaeda.
The Munich Massacre of 1972 has left a legacy of terror that still burns across the globe – and Jeremy Corbyn is feeling the heat.
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