India’s no-nonsense strategy that “Terror and talks can’t go together”, has resulted in a much safer environment within the nation. Since then, India’s security outlook has changed completely. Now, India follows the successful offensive defence strategy in which the nation doesn’t surrender, negotiate and reason with terrorist groups. It rather serves them Justice in their rat holes that may be located even in enemy territory. This month is the 50th Anniversary of the Operation Wrath of God which cemented this policy firmly. It vindicated that the only language ideologies of violence and hatred understand is that of disproportionate use of force by state agencies.
Palestinian terrorists exploited German incompetence and the Olympic platform
Nazi Germany shamefully held the 1936 Summer Olympics. During that time, the Jewish community suffered unspeakable horrors and the holocaust at the hands of brutal Nazi oppression. But, the 1972 Summer Olympics was a redemption chance for Western German authorities. They had the chance to erase the symbolism of the country’s Nazi past and the blot of antisemitism and the oppressive image of a police state.
This reflected in the light blue colour Olympic emblem, “Radiant Munich” which symbolised “light, freshness and generosity.” Further, the event’s motto was “the cheerful Games.”
Ironically, earlier that year, the European Nation, Germany had suffered a brutal terror attack. This meant that the dark clouds of terror were always looming over the head of the hosting nation. But sloppy Germany allotted pennies for upgrading its security infrastructure and safeguarding Olympic athletes.
Further, the ten days of lull (no act of violence or hate crimes) and cheerful thunders of the Olympic games made the negligent German forces let their guard down. In between, a group of eight Palestinian Islamic terrorists used German incompetence to their advantage. The terrorists in tracksuits entered the Olympic Village with Kalashnikov rifles and grenades in duffel bags.
The armed terrorists had already scouted the locations and entered the building unchecked in which Israeli athletes were camped. The terrorists were members of the terror outfit Black September which was affiliated with Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Within no time, the Black September group held 9 Israeli athletes hostage while killing two Israeli athletes who fought their terror act. The terrorist group had in mind the release of 236 terrorists from prisons: Out of which 234 terrorists were rotting in Israeli prisons. The remaining two terrorists had links to the West German Baader-Meinhof terrorist group.
Media live streamed the horrific act
Unfortunately, the West German authorities were caught wanting retaliatory action. The bewildered authorities kept engaged in Games which only halted after hostage crises had spiralled for seven straight hours. Thanks to vulture journalism, the terrorist
Were successful in one of their agenda which was to create a global frenzy. The terrorist incident was live broadcast to a global audience for the first time.
Then CBS Radio reporter Dave Marash highlighted this cruel aspect of Journalism. He said, “Those simultaneous images flickering on those monitors struck me as the most incongruous, most inappropriate, most flat surreal visual memory of my life.”
The hostage crisis continued as West German authorities’ response was uncoordinated. Rather than Federal forces, Security was overseen by state authorities who had no expertise in dealing with hostage situations. Moreover, West Germany’s post-war constitution refrained the nation from the domestic use of the army during peacetime.
Failed attempt to rescue hostages
Negotiations were quickly off the table as Israel’s Prime Minister, Golda Meir rejected to hold any negotiations with terrorists. The nincompoop West German Forces planned a decoy in which it informed the Black September terrorist group to take a plane with its hostages to Cairo. However, its plan quickly started to backfire as police personnel who were to be deployed in disguise of the plane’s crew refused due to the risk involved. Moreover, West Germany’s Plan B to use snipers to kill the terrorists failed immediately as it lacked expert snipers and proper equipment.
Quickly, the West German forces panicked and opened fire. In the gun battle, five out of eight Palestinian terrorists were gunned down but not before the time they had managed to kill all the nine Israeli athletes. The remaining three Black September terrorists were caught by West German Police.
Israel avenges the death of its Athletes
Previously, Palestinian militants had hijacked several planes and carried out many terrorist attacks but this was a new extreme from PLO. Soon, after the Munich massacre, Israel launched airstrikes and raids on PLO bases in Syria and Lebanon
To destroy its terror infrastructure. Two months later, terrorist sympathisers hijacked a Lufthansa flight on Oct. 29, 1972. The three remaining Black September terrorists were released in a hostage swap. All of the three Munich attackers received a hero’s welcome in Libya and got refuge from Moammar Gadhafi.
Soon, furious Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir authorised Israeli assassination squads to wipe out all the terrorists including Black September and the PLO-affiliated groups that had orchestrated the Munich massacre.
Operation wrath of God
The Operation Wrath of God hit squad was code-named Bayonet and comprised members of Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, and special operations teams from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The Mossad hit squad started avenging the Munich massacre and killed Wael Zwaiter as a message to all the terrorists that Israel never forgets its enemies. Wael Zwaiter was a PLO organiser and cousin of Yāsir Arafāt. He was shot dead in the lobby of his Rome apartment building in October 1972.
Later, Mahmoud Hamshari, the PLO representative in Paris, was next to serve Israeli Justice. An Israeli agent posed as an Italian journalist and scheduled a telephone interview with Hamshari in December 1972. An Israeli explosives expert broke into his home and planted a bomb on his telephone. When Hamshari confirmed his identity over phone call, the bomb was set off and the PLO terrorist died in the explosion.
Later, four other suspects namely Basil al-Kubaisi, Hussein Abad al-Chir, Zaid Muchassi, and Mohammed Boudia got a knock from Israeli hit squad. All four PLO terrorist were served justice for Munich terror act. What came next was something extraordinary even for Mossad and IDF.
In April 1973, Ehud Barak, the leader of one IDF unit, developed a risky plan to obliterate PLO leadership. A sub-operation called Operation Spring of Youth was to be carried out. The mission involved the amphibious insertion of commando teams into Beirut. Once ashore, the newly injected Israeli Commandos would coordinate with Mossad agents already in the city. One Commando team was used as decoy to stage diversionary raids throughout the city. During that time, a squad of Israeli paratroopers assaulted the PFLP headquarters. The main Israeli Commando force killed three leaders of the terrorist group – Muhammad Youssef Al-Najjar, Kamal Adwan, and Kamal Nasser.
Unfortunately, in one such attempt in Lillehammer, Israeli Mossad killed one innocent and the Norwegian authorities in its extensive investigation exposed this well-planned operation Wrath of God and the Israel government had to shun the operation under heavy international pressure.
Ali Hassan Salameh, a Fatah and Black September operations chief known to Mossad as the “Red Prince” was the actual target of Mossad in the Lillehammer killing. The operation was relaunched for one last time in 1979. The Israeli hit squad assassinated Salameh in Beirut with a car bomb placed along a route that he used regularly.
German President regrets for past incompetence and failure
Recently, both Israel and Germany observed the ceremonies for marking the 50th anniversary of this heroic Operation Wrath of God and Israel’s revenge for its athletes killed in the Munich Massacre. Speaking at an event, German President Frank Walter-Steinmeier expressed remorse and regret on behalf of Germany.
He said, “I ask for your forgiveness for the inadequate protection afforded to the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich. I have a duty and need to recognize Germany’s responsibility here and now and to the future.”
While Germany has learned for its incompetence and apologised for its inactions, there is a lot to learn for other nations from Israel. Israel as a nation has stood firm in its commitment to serve Justice to all its deceased athletes. The Jewish state has shown a firm resolve that they would never negotiate with terrorists and would not stop till last terrorist is send to the gates of hell. It also highlights that Ideologies of violence and hatred can’t be reasoned with negotiations; they only need to be wiped out completely with whatever actions needed.
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