Joined: 01 Apr 2006
|Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:58 am Post subject: 27Dec1985 terror attack on Vienna + Rome Airports El-Al desk
|Twin Attacks at the Airports of Vienna and Rome (Dec. 27, 1985)
On December 27, 1985 El-Al's security system was put to test, as two terrorist cells from Abu Nidal's Damascus-based organization simultaneously attacked crowds of El-Al passengers at the airports of Vienna and Rome.
The events in Rome
At 09:10 a.m. on Dec. 27, 1985 four terrorists attacked El-Al's ticket counters at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome. The terrorists opened machine gun fire from three directions and threw hand grenades at El-Al passengers from the bar opposite the airline's counters. Approximately 60 people were in the area of the bar at the time. The counters opened half an hour before and were crowded with passengers. Dozens of passengers also filled the adjacent Trans World Airlines (TWA) counters, which handled two other flights.
13 people were killed in the attack, and 76 were injured. Three of the perpetrators were killed by Israeli security staff, who returned fire towards the sources of the shooting. One terrorist was captured wounded. The incident took place over 15-20 seconds overall.
The events in Vienna
On the same day, Dec. 27, 1985, El-Al's ticket counters at Vienna International Airport were also attacked by terrorists. Three passengers (two Austrians and one Israeli) were killed, and 44 were injured in this attack.
133 outbound passengers were registered to the El-Al flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv. At the time of the attack, 09:10 a.m., approximately 60 El-Al passengers were in the terminal. Three terrorists ascended a staircase, threw four or five hand grenades from above into the terminal, and then shot bursts of gunfire.
Two security guards closest to the staircase immediately returned fire towards the terrorists and prevented them from ascending any further. As the gunfight continued, the terrorists retreated, descended the staircase and exited the terminal, reaching the car park. One of the terrorists seized a Mercedes vehicle from its fleeing owner, collected the other two perpetrators and quickly drove off, seeking to leave the airport.
The Israeli security guards gave chase and asked Austrian policemen, who were sitting in several cars in the area, to drive after the terrorists' vehicle. The security guards shot at the terrorists, who returned fire and threw a hand grenade at the pursuers during the chase.
The terrorists missed the airport exit, reached a dead end and had to turn back. Being wounded, they lost control of the vehicle and stopped. The Austrian policemen with service dogs captured the terrorists. 19 shots were found to have hit the Mercedes. One terrorist was killed, and two were captured wounded. The incident, from its beginning until the end of the chase, took place over approximately 60 seconds.
The conclusions drawn from the events in Rome and Vienna led to the development of the security doctrine, which is meant to minimize and prevent attacks against travelers to Israel. Notably, the reaction of the Israeli security guards in both incidents was very quick, and in Vienna especially it contributed to swift handling of the event with a relatively low number of casualties.
Last edited by simonralli on Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:43 am; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
|Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:21 pm Post subject:
|1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks
Rome and Vienna airport attacks
Aftermath in a fast food restaurant in the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport after the attack
Locations of the incidents in Rome, Italy and Vienna, Austria
Location Rome, Italy
Date 27 December 1985
9:15 am (UTC+1)
Target Israeli targets in Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Rome) and Vienna International Airport (Vienna)
Weapons Assault rifles
Deaths 23 (including 4 terrorists)
139 (including 1 terrorist)
Perpetrators Abu Nidal Organization (purported)
The Rome and Vienna airport attacks were two major terrorist attacks carried out on 27 December 1985. Seven Arab terrorists attacked two airports in Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria with assault rifles and hand grenades. Nineteen civilians were killed and over a hundred others were injured before four of the terrorists were killed by El-Al Security personnel and local police, who captured the remaining three.
At 08:15 GMT, four Arab gunmen walked to the shared ticket counter for Israel's El Al Airlines and Trans World Airlines at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport outside Rome, Italy, fired assault rifles and threw grenades. They killed 16 and wounded 99, including American diplomat Wes Wessels, before three of the attackers were killed by El-Al security, while the remaining one, Mohammed Sharam, was wounded and captured by the Italian police.
Minutes later, at Schwechat Airport (Vienna International Airport) in Vienna, Austria, three terrorists carried out a similar attack. Hand grenades were thrown into crowds of passengers queuing to check in for a flight to Tel Aviv, killing two people instantly and wounding 39 others. A third victim died on 22 January 1986, of hand grenade wounds sustained in the attack. After the attack, the terrorists fled by car, and Austrian police gave chase. They killed one terrorist and captured the other two.
In all, the two strikes killed 19, including a child, and wounded around 140. Some contemporary reports claimed the gunmen originally intended to hijack El Al jets at the airports and blow them up over Tel Aviv; others concluded that the attack on waiting passengers was the original plan and that the Frankfurt airport was meant to be hit as well.
The attacks were first blamed on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), but its leader, Yasser Arafat, denied the accusations and denounced the strikes. The PLO asserted that the attacks were intended to force Austria and Italy into severing ties with the Palestinians.
Responsibility for the two attacks was later claimed by the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) in retaliation for Operation Wooden Leg, the Israeli bombing of PLO headquarters in Tunis on 1 October 1985. Libya was accused, by the US, of funding the terrorists who carried out the attacks; although they denied the charges, they did praise the assaults. According to published reports, sources close to Abu Nidal said Libyan intelligence supplied the weapons and the ANO's head of the Intelligence Directorate's Committee for Special Missions, Dr. Ghassan al-Ali, organized the attacks. Libya denied these charges as well, notwithstanding that it claimed they were "heroic operations carried out by the sons of the martyrs of Sabra and Shatila." Italian secret services blamed Syria and Iran.
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung