Munich atrocity ringleader dies
MOHAMMED Oudeh, the key planner of the 1972 Munich Olympics attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes, died yesterday in Damascus, his daughter said. He was 73.
Oudeh died of kidney failure a day after he was taken to Damascus Andalus hospital after falling sick, Hana Oudeh said. Mohammed Oudeh -- also known under his guerrilla name Abu Daoud -- did not take part in the September 5, 1972, attack. Two Israeli athletes were killed in the assault, and nine others died in a botched rescue attempt by the German police.
A German policeman and five Palestinian gunmen also were killed. The attack shocked the world as the most high-profile and brazen assault on a sports team, and led to a wave of assassinations of top Palestinian officials.
Oudeh was a leader of Black September, an offshoot of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah group that was established to avenge the 1970 expulsion of Palestinian guerrillas from Jordan.
In a 2006 interview, Oudeh said the Munich events were a turning point for Palestinians and rejected the term "terrorists" to describe Palestinian fighters. "Before Munich, we were simply terrorists. After Munich, at least people started asking who are these terrorists? What do they want," he said. "Before Munich, nobody had the slightest idea about Palestine." Oudeh said he had no qualms about the operation. He is survived by five daughters and a son.