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Munich Olympic kidnapping planner dies

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian terror group leader who said he planned the kidnapping of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics has died.

Mohammed Daoud Odeh, also known as Abu Daoud, the former leader of the Palestinian Black September organization, died Saturday in Damascus of kidney failure. He was 73.

He was eulogized by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"He is missed," Abbas said. "He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance and sincere work, as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes."

Eleven Israeli athletes, including American citizen David Berger, were kidnapped and later killed during the abduction. Five Palestinians and a German policeman also were killed.

Odeh oversaw the plans of the raid, which he disclosed in a book published in 1999 titled “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich.”  But he said he did not order the killing of any of the Israeli athletes.

He was the object of an assassination attempt in 1981, reportedly by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, but survived.

Following the Munich Olympics, he fled to Eastern Europe, and also would live in Lebanon and Jordan. Odeh moved to Ramallah in 1993 following the Oslo Accords, but was banned from returning following the publication of “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich.”  He and his family resettled in Syria, the only country that would accept him.
 

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