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WHEN THE TERROR BEGAN
Alexander Wolff
August 26, 2002
Thirty years later, the hostage drama that left 11 Israeli Olympians dead seems even more chilling and offers grim reminders to today's security experts
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August 26, 2002

When The Terror Began

Thirty years later, the hostage drama that left 11 Israeli Olympians dead seems even more chilling and offers grim reminders to today's security experts

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Over the following days Abu Daoud took delivery of another two Kalashnikovs and a cache of grenades, and regularly moved the weapons from locker to locker. And he returned once more to the Village, this time with a Syrian woman, a friend who was visiting a sister married to a professor in munich. AS a group of Brazilian athletes, back from training, made their way through one of the gates, she told the guard, in German, "My friend here is Brazilian and just recognized an old schoolmate. Can we say hello? Only for 10 minutes." The guard waved them through. It made sense to pass as Brazilian, Abu Daoud says, given his complexion and the unlikelihood that anyone would chat him up in Portuguese. On this visit he was able to inspect the quarters of the Saudis and the Sudanese, thereby getting a sense of the layout of Village housing.

Two days later, back this time with Tony and Issa, Abu Daoud approached the same guard.

"Ah! You come every day!"

"Naturally—we've come all the way from Brazil to cheer our guys on."

The guard gestured at Abu Daoud's two companions. "Brazilians too?" he said.

"My friends are upset with me. I told them yesterday that I'd been able to enter the Village and meet our athletes."

"They're jealous?"

"That's why I'm asking this favor."

"Fine, go with your friends."

In his memoir Abu Daoud writes, "It couldn't have begun better—but the best was yet to come. Five minutes later we arrived in front of 31 Connollystrasse, and suddenly I saw a young, tanned woman coming out the door.' She was attached to the Israeli delegation. They chatted her up telling her they were Brazilians who had always wanted to visit Israel. She escorted them through the foyer by the stairwell and through the doorway into the ground-floor apartment, a duplex with an interior stairway. "For six or seven people, this is sensible don't you think?" she said. "The rest of the delegation is in other apartments just like this." Inside, the Palestinians took note of the details of each room, including the locations of telephones and TV sets and the sightlines from each window.

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