Skip to main content

Suspected Munich massacre mastermind dead, reports say

By the CNN Wire Staff
Abu Daoud, seen in 1977, was also known as Mohammed Oudeh.
Abu Daoud, seen in 1977, was also known as Mohammed Oudeh.
  • Palestinian Authority news agency reports Abu Daoud dead at 73
  • Mahmoud Abbas sends condolences to Daoud's family
  • Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics
  • "Black September" was viewed as a triumph in Arab world
  • Munich

(CNN) -- Abu Daoud, the man who claimed to be the mastermind behind the massacre that marked the 1972 Munich Olympics, has died, according to the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority.

On September 5 of that year, Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes who were taken hostage.

Daoud, also known as Mohammed Oudeh, died Friday night, the WAFA news agency reported Saturday. The former Palestinian politician and commander in the Fatah and Palestinian Liberation Organization movements was 73.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent his condolences to Daoud's family, WAFA reported.

"He wrote in his letter to his family, 'He is missed. He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance [against the occupation] and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people's just causes,' " the news agency quoted Abbas as saying.

In the early hours of the attack in Munich, eight Palestinian terrorists entered the Olympic Village in the German city.

They stormed the apartments housing the Israeli athletes and took control. Hours later, the world woke up to the image of a masked man on the balcony of the Olympic Village.

From the Olympic Village, the Palestinian terrorists issued ultimatums, demanding the release of 200 Arab inmates from Israeli prisons or they would start killing the athletes in Munich, one every hour. Eventually, all the Israelis, five terrorists and one German police officer were killed in what would be remembered as "Black September."

"The hardest part was the ultimatums," Ankie Spitzer, wife of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, who was killed in the incident, told CNN in a 2005 interview. "Every time, you die a little bit because you think now it's going to happen to him."

The Games were put on hold for a few hours.

In the Arab world, "Black September" was viewed as a triumph. Weeks later, the three captured Palestinian terrorists were freed by the German government after a Lufthansa plane was hijacked in the Balkans. The men got a heroes' welcome when they arrived in Libya.

Ironically, Daoud was allowed back into the West Bank for several years by Israel, at a time in the 1990s when relations with Palestinians were improving.

In 2006 -- around the release of Steven Spielberg's "Munich" -- he gave several interviews in which he indicated he had no regrets about the Munich attacks.

"I regret nothing," he told Germany's Spiegel TV. "You can only dream that I would apologize."

Daoud also published an autobiography, giving a first-hand look at the rise of the Palestinian resistance leading up to the attack at Munich. The book is titled "Memoirs of a Palestinian Terrorist," as well as, "Palestine -- A History of the Resistance Movement, by the Sole Survivor of Black September."