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Murder, Terror at Olympic Games: Arab Terrorists Continue to Hold 10 Israeli Hostages, Two Killed

September 6, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Thousands of spectators gathered tonight at the Olympic games site as the village settled down for what appeared to be likely to be a sleepless night in an impasse in which five heavily armed Arab terrorists still were in the building with 10 Israeli athletes as hostages. There were various reports that there may be as many as 26 hostages but no confirmation of these figures could be obtained. Two Israeli athletes were killed by the terrorists early today.

German police were positioned all around the building and sharpshooters were posted on roofs of nearby buildings. Riot police wearing bulletproof vests were stationed in nearby basements. Armored cars, machineguns ready for firing, were stationed on neighboring streets, out of sight of the Arab terrorists.

At Munich police headquarters, Police Chief Manfred Chreiser maintained unremitting contact with West German officials, led by Chancellor Willy Brandt, and Bavarian officials. The spectators managed to assemble in the area despite police barriers, waiting for something to happen. It was disclosed for the first time, late today, that West German officials were meeting with one of the terrorists on the second floor of the Israeli building. A West German spokesman confirmed the negotiations and added “it is a tough process.”

There were reports that if the negotiations produced no results, Bavarian police might try to storm the building during the night, despite threats by the terrorists they would kill all the hostages,

The start of negotiations apparently was the reason for the successive postponements by the terrorists of their ultimatums to kill the hostages if their demands were not met. These included a pledge by the Israel government to free 200 Arab terrorists now in Israeli jails and provision of a plane to the terrorists, large enough to hold them and the hostages and with the capacity to fly to some Arab capital.


Avery Brundage, chairman of the international Olympic Committee, announced that the games have been suspended for 24 hours. Earlier he said the games would not be halted. A heavily armed Arab terrorist squad invaded the Olympic athletes’ village early in the morning and killed Moshe Weinberg, 32. A second Israeli, who had been wounded seriously, was believed to have died a few hours later. Ten Israelis were reported to have managed to flee from the building during the terrorist attack.

They included two women, Shulamit Nir, a swimmer, and Esther Schakmorof, a sprints and hurdles champion. Dr. Shaul Ladany, who was in the 50-kilometer walk event, escaped by jumping out of a window. It was reported that the body of Weinberg was thrown out of a window after he was killed.

Mark Spitz, the American swimmer who captured an extraordinary seven gold medals in the competition to date, was taken under guard to a downtown hotel. Two bodyguards were assigned to protect the American Jewish swim star.

West German officials informed the terrorists that “highly-placed West German personalities” had offered to take the place of the Israeli hostages. The officials also demanded that a doctor and an ambulance be permitted to enter the building and remove the wounded Israeli, presumably before the report developed that he had died of his wounds. The officials said the terrorists turned down both proposals.


Willy Brandt, the West German Chancellor, announced he had canceled plans for a visit to Kiel and planned to stay in Bonn to follow developments. Later Brandt sent his Interior Minister to Munich to conduct any negotiations with the terrorists.

Dr. Walter Scheel, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Issued an official condemnation of the attack as “horrible.” He said it served only “to harm the cause of those who carried it out.” Joseph Comiti, the French Minister for Sports, called the attack “odious” and contrary to “any hope for peace.”

Radio Cairo broadcast hourly reports on the attack but has adhered strictly to factual accounts, totally without any comment. Egypt decided today to withdraw its team from the Olympic games as a result of the attack. Though the Egyptian delegation did not give any reason for the withdrawal, it was generally believed here that it was meant to be a disavowal of the terrorist attack in line with Egyptian President Sadat’s attempt to gain a political solution to the Middle East deadlock.


It was reported later that Brandt had arrived here to take personal charge of efforts to free the hostages. Several hundred pro-Israeli demonstrators marched through the streets of Munich, calling on the West German government and the Olympic Committee to cancel or at least postpone the games until all the Israeli hostages were released. The demonstrators also tried to march toward the Israeli compound but police prevented them from getting close to the building.

According to some reports the Israelis had weapons in their building. Shots were heard as the Israelis apparently tried to defend themselves against the terrorist attack. It was in the ensuing exchange of fire, police said, that Weinberg was killed and the second, still unidentified Israeli, was fatally wounded.

About six hours after the attack, West German police tried to approach the building but were fired at by the terrorists who told the police to pull back or the hostages would be executed immediately. The armored cars were pulled back but the sharpshooters took up positions on roofs of neighboring buildings.

Reports received here said leaflets had been distributed in Cairo declaring that the “Black September Group” had carried out the attack. The leaflets said the attackers consisted of five men. Munich police have provided bodyguards for other Jewish athletes, in addition to Spitz. The 24-hour postponement of the games was ordered in part so that memorial services can be held tomorrow for the two slain Israelis. Olympic officials indicated that the games would be resumed Thursday.

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