German anti-terror expert says Israelis should have participated in Munich rescue mission

Commander of the Federal Police Directorate says German troops were unprepared to deal with rescue mission and decision to block Israeli special forces, operation of which, German government refused to authorize

Itamar Eichner|
A senior German police anti-terror chief said his government was wrong to exclude Israeli commandos from attempts to free Israeli hostages during an attack at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
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  • Speaking during his visit to Israel, Commander of the Federal Police Directorate 11 Olaf Linder said the IDF special forces were better equipped to deal with the crisis.
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    אולף לינדנר
    אולף לינדנר
    Olaf Lindner
    (Photo: German Police)
    "From an operational tactical point of view and from what I know about what happened 50 years ago, there is no doubt that Israel's special units at the time, would have been able to ensure a much better outcome and rescue the Israeli hostages and save human lives," said Lindner.
    Lindner previously served as commander of the German special operations unit GSG 9, which was established after - and as a direct result of - the failure to rescue the Israeli athletes, resulting in their death and the deaths of five of the terrorists and one German police officer.
    Germany at the time refused to approve the participation of Israel's special IDF commando units in the rescue efforts to release the athletes being held hostage by eight members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, despite Germany not having a special counter-terror unit of their own.
    In his statement, Lindner stops short of expressing an opinion on the political decision but makes clear that from an operational tactical perspective this would have certainly increased the chances of successful.
    He added that another German general shared what he had learned in his training in Israel following the massacre, and confirmed that the Israel special forces were very professional.
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    דגל ישראל באנדרטה במינכן. 50 שנה לרצח הספורטאים באולימפיאדה
    דגל ישראל באנדרטה במינכן. 50 שנה לרצח הספורטאים באולימפיאדה
    The Israeli flag at a monument in Munich
    (Photo: AFP)
    Lindner was in Israel to participate at the annual conference of the ICT (Institute for Counter-Terrorism) at the Reichman University in Herzliya. Ministers, members of Knesset, security officials and experts in the field from Israel and abroad, were scheduled to participate.
    Lindner will also take part in the state ceremony in memory of the victims of the massacre set to take place later this week in Munich, with the presence of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President Isaac Herzog, and the families of the 11 victims who agreed to attend - after a compensation agreement was reached between them and the German government.
    According to the agreement, each family will receive 28 million euros.
    Lindner is expected to meet the families of the victims for the first time. He said this would be very emotional for him, and expressed his hope that everything was being done to improve their situation.
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    The Israeli victim of the Munich Massacre
    The Israeli victim of the Munich Massacre
    The Israeli victim of the Munich Massacre
    He himself is married to an Israeli woman, who was a representative of the Israel Police in Germany.
    When asked if he believed a similar fiasco could take place in Germany today, Lindner said that they have much more solutions to terror than 50 years ago.
    He claimed that the German Special Operations Unit was established in a very professional way, largely thanks to collaborations with the British and Israeli forces. He added that the German police still had extensive cooperation with their Israeli counterparts and with IDF special forces units.
    Lindner said the German forces at the time of the terror attack were helpless, and thrown into a situation they had no knowledge or advanced training to deal with.
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