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Black September Organization

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Black September Organization

Black September Organization
Native name منظمة أيلول الأسود
Dates of operation September 1970 (1970-09)–September 1973 (1973-09)
Notable attacks Munich massacre (see List of Black September attacks)
Status Inactive

The Black September Organization (BSO) (Special Air Service of the UK.


  • Origin 1
  • Structure of the group 2
  • Munich massacre 3
  • Other attacks 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Newsreel about the 1970 events

The group's name is derived from the Black September conflict which began on 16 September 1970, when King Hussein of Jordan declared military rule in response to a fedayeen coup d’état to seize his kingdom  — resulting in the deaths or expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from Jordan. The BSO began as a small cell of Fatah men determined to take revenge upon King Hussein and the Jordanian army. Recruits from the PFLP, as-Sa'iqa, and other groups also joined.

Initially, most of its members were dissidents within Fatah who had been close to Abu Ali Iyad, the commander of Fatah forces in northern Jordan who continued to fight the Jordanian Army after the PLO leadership withdrew. He was killed, allegedly through execution, by Jordanian forces on 23 July 1971.[2] It was alleged by them that the Jordanian prime minister at the time, Wasfi al-Tal, was personally responsible for his torture and death.[3]

Structure of the group

There is disagreement among historians, journalists, and primary sources about the nature of the BSO and the extent to which it was controlled by PLO faction controlled at the time by Yasser Arafat.

In his book Stateless, Salah Khalaf (

The denial described in Abu Iyad's claim was mutual: according to a 1972 article in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur, Mohammed Daoud Oudeh, also known as

  • FBI file on Black September
  • Incidents attributed to Black September on the START database

External links

  • Amos, John (1980). Palestinian resistance: organization of a nationalist movement. Pergamon Press.  
  • Reeve, Simon. One Day in September: the story of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Faber & Faber, 2000, ISBN 1-55970-603-1.
  • One day in September, Sony Pictures
  • Katz, Samuel M.: Soldier Spies - Israeli Military Intelligence, Presido Press, Novato,CA, 1992, ISBN 0-89141-357-X.
  • "Munich 1972: When the Terror Began", Time Magazine, 25 August 2002
  • Dahlke, Matthias, Der Anschlag auf Olympia 72, Meidenbauer, 2006, ISBN 3-89975-583-9 (German).

Further reading

  • Cooley, J.K.: "Green March, Black September" : The Story of the Palestinian Arabs. Frank Cass and Company Ltd., 1973, ISBN 0-7146-2987-1
  • Bar Zohar, M., Haber E. The Quest for the Red Prince: Israel's Relentless Manhunt for One of the World's Deadliest and Most Wanted Arab Terrorists. The Lyons Press, 2002, ISBN 1-58574-739-4
  • Morris, B.: Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. Vintage Books, 2001.
  • Jonas, G. Vengeance. Bantam Books, 1985.
  • Khalaf, S. (Abu Iyad) Stateless.
  • Oudeh, M.D. (Abu Daoud) Memoirs of a Palestinian Terrorist.
  1. ^ Black September: Palestinian Movement and Jordanian War
  2. ^ Quandt, Jabber and Lesch, p.141.
  3. ^ Amos, 1980, p.222.
  4. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: State Department Documents PLO-Black September Link
  5. ^ a b Cooley 1973
  6. ^ a b Morris 2001, p. 379
  7. ^ Morris 2001, p. 383
  8. ^ Elias Chacour: "Blood Brothers. A Palestinian Struggles for Reconciliation in the Middle East" ISBN 0-8007-9321-8 with Hazard, David, and Baker III, James A., Secretary (Foreword by) 2nd Expanded ed. 2003. pp. 44-61
  9. ^ Sylas, Eluma Ikemefuma (2007). Terrorism: A Global Scourge. United States: Author House.  
  10. ^ BBC thisworld: The hunt for Black September
  11. ^ الموساد قلعة التجسس الإسرائيلية [Mossad the israeli spying citadel] (in Arabic).  
  12. ^
  13. ^ And Now, Mail-a-Death, Time, 2 October 1972. Accessed 5 September 2006.
  14. ^ a b BBC On this day 19 September: 1972: Parcel bomb attack on Israeli embassy
  15. ^ Time: And now, Mail-a-Death
  16. ^ TropHort: Agricultural research in Israel - achievements and trends. The eleventh Ami Shachori memorial lecture delivered in London, 19 October 1983


See also

In Shachori's memory an annual memorial lecture on agriculture in London was established.[16]

Eight bombs were addressed to embassy staffers. Four were intercepted at a post office sorting room in Earls Court,[14] but the other four letters made it to the embassy. Three of the letters were detected in the consulate post room [14] but Ami Shachori opened his, believing it contained Dutch flower seeds he had ordered. The resulting blast tore a hole in the desk and fatally wounded Shachori in the stomach and chest.[15]

Dr. Ami Shachori was the agricultural counsellor in the Israeli Embassy to the United Kingdom in the London district of Kensington. At the age of 44 he was assassinated in a letter bomb attack on 19 September 1972, perpetrated by Black September.

Letter bomb attacks and assassination of Ami Shachori
  • 28 November 1971: the assassination of Jordan's prime minister, Wasfi Tel, in retaliation for the expulsion of the PLO from Jordan in 1970-71;
  • December 1971: attempted assassination of Zeid al Rifai, Jordan's ambassador to London and former chief of the Jordanian royal court;
  • 6 February 1972: sabotage of a West German electrical installation and gas plants in Ravenstein and Ommen in the Netherlands and in Hamburg in West Germany;
  • 8 May 1972: hijacking of a Belgian aircraft, Sabena Flight 572, flying from Vienna to Lod.
  • September and October 1972: dozens of letter bombs were sent from Amsterdam to Israeli diplomatic posts around the world, killing Israeli Agricultural Counsellor Ami Shachori in Britain.[13]
  • 1 March 1973: attack on the chargé d'affaires to Sudan
  • 2 March 1973 1973 New York bomb plot
  • 5 August 1973: two Palestinian militants claiming affiliation with Black September open fire on a passenger lounge in an Athens airport, killing 3 and wounding 55. A Lufthansa Boeing 737 is hijacked in December to demand that the gunmen be freed from Greek custody.

Other actions attributed to Black September include:

Other attacks

Recent remarks by Abu Daoud, the alleged mastermind of the Munich kidnappings, deny that any of the Palestinians assassinated by Mossad had any relation to the Munich operation,[11] this despite the fact that the list includes two of the three surviving members of the kidnap squad arrested at the airport.[12]

Following the attack, the Israeli government, headed by Prime Minister Golda Meir, ordered Mossad to assassinate those known to have been involved.[10] What was then known as Operation Bayonet had begun. By 1979, during what became known as Operation Wrath of God, at least one Mossad unit had assassinated eight PLO members. Among them was the leading figure of Ali Hassan Salameh, nicknamed the "Red Prince," the wealthy, flamboyant son of an upper-class family, and commander of Force 17, Yasser Arafat's personal security squad. Salameh was behind the 1972 hijacking of Sabena Flight 572 from Vienna to Lod. He was killed by a car bomb in Beirut on 22 January 1979. In Operation Spring of Youth, in April 1973, Israeli commandos killed three senior members of Black September in Beirut. In July 1973, in what became known as the Lillehammer affair, six Israeli operatives were arrested in Norway for the murder of Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Moroccan waiter who was mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh.

The group's most infamous operation was the killing of 11 Israeli athletes, nine of whom were first taken hostage, and the killing of a German police officer, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Black September's official name for the operation was "Ikrit and Biram", after the names of two Palestinian Christian villages whose residents had been killed or expelled by the Israeli military Haganah in 1948.[8][9]

Munich massacre

The PLO closed Black September down on September 1973, on the anniversary it was created by the "political calculation that no more good would come of terrorism abroad" according to Morris.[7] In 1974 Arafat ordered the PLO to withdraw from acts of violence outside the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel.

[6] Fatah needed Black September, according to

Cooley writes that many of the cells in Europe and around the world were made up of Palestinians and other Arabs who had lived in their countries of residence as students, teachers, businessmen, and diplomats for many years. Operating without a central leadership (see Leaderless resistance), it was a "true collegial direction".[5] The cell structure and the need-to-know operational philosophy protected the operatives by ensuring that the apprehension or surveillance of one cell would not affect the others. The structure offered plausible deniability to the Fatah leadership, which was careful to distance itself from Black September operations.

According to American journalist Charlie Cranston sic]", though there was no centralized leadership.[5]


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