Israel fears another Olympic massacre

Sunday, July 22, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Amid what appears to be a series of planned attacks on Israelis traveling abroad, Israel's Mossad spy agency reportedly fears Muslim extremists could try to repeat the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics when the games are held in London next month.

Last week, a Muslim terrorist with suspected ties to Lebanon's Hizballah militia detonated a bomb on a tourist bus in Bulgaria as it transported a group of Israelis to a local airport. Six people were killed and dozens more wounded.

Days earlier, Cypriot officials arrested a Lebese man traveling on a forged Swedish passport after learning that he was planning a terrorist attack. The man was found in possession of photographs and other surveillance tracking Israelis living on the island.

At the time of the Bulgaria bombing, Israeli officials said the coinciding terrorist incidents abroad was not a coincidence, and cautioned that Iranian-backed terrorist forces may have planned a whole series of attacks on Israeli targets.

According to the Times of London, Israeli spymasters believe the Israeli delegation to the London Games is simply too tempting a target. In 1972, a Palestinian terrorist cell connected to Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas took members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage in their apartments. By the end of the showdown with German police, the terrorists had executed 11 of the 31 Israeli athletes and coaches. Unnamed sources cited by the Times said such a scenario could play out again in London if proper precautions are not taken.

Responding to the report, Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad, director of policy and political-military affairs at Israel's Defense Ministry, told Army Radio that Israel is cooperating closely with the European intelligence community to insure the safety of everyone at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Gilad stressed that there is currently no concrete threat of an Olympic attack, and noted that while the Bulgaria bombing had made widespread headlines, Israel and its partners had managed to thwart many more attacks on Israeli traveling abroad.

"When the terrorists succeed they make headlines, but our successes seldom get reported," said the general.

In related news, the International Olympic Committee has rejected a standing request to commemorate the Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich massacre during the opening event in London next week.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said that holding a minute of silence during the opening ceremony would not be appropriate. "We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident," said Rogge, who stated that the IOC would hold a private commemoration with the Israeli delegation, as it has done in the past.

The families of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes have been petitioning the IOC for decades to publicly commemorate their loved ones. But even the backing of US President Barack Obama and other world leaders failed to sway Rogge and the IOC, which may fear a Muslim backlash.

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