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The Munich Massacre



The Munich Massacre
Print The Munich Massacre Reading Comprehension


Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.02

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    terrorize, mastermind, terrorism, weightlifter, half-mast, happening, assassinate, hostage, hijacked, obligation, subsequent, tragedy, unlikely, murder, anonymous, attain
     content words:    Mark Spitz, Olympic Village, Olympic Games, Munich Massacre, Palestine Liberation Organization, International Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, Ankie Spitzer, Andre Spitzer, Black September


The Munich Massacre
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     It was an unforgettable Olympics. It wasn't because American swimmer Mark Spitz won gold medals in all seven events in which he competed, setting a new world record. Nor was it because of Russian gymnast Olga Korbut's gold medal performances for the balance beam and floor exercise. What made the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, unforgettable? It was terrorism.
 
2     Early in the morning of September 5, eight Arab terrorists wearing ski masks burst into an apartment in the Olympic Village. An Israeli coach and weightlifter were immediately killed. Nine other Israeli athletes and coaches were taken hostage. Within 24 hours, the nine hostages were dead. So were five terrorists and one German policeman.
 
3     The immediate reaction was to suspend the Olympic Games for 24 hours and hold a mass for the victims in the main stadium. The Olympic and national flags were flown at half-mast. The tragedy was called "the Munich Massacre."
 
4     What had the Israeli athletes done to deserve murder? Nothing. Terrorists use violence to reach their goals, and innocent people are often their victims. In this case, the goal was to gain the release of 234 Arab prisoners in Israeli jails and two German terrorist leaders in a German jail. The terrorists called themselves "Black September." They acted on orders from Yasser [sometimes spelled "Yasir"] Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), an organization that resorted to violence to attain their goals.
 
5     Though some thought the Games should be canceled, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) President, Avery Brundage, announced, "The Games must go on!"

Paragraphs 6 to 12:
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