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Victims of 1972 massacre mourned

The world must “never forget” the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics, British prime minister David Cameron said at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

Ankie Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andre, and Ilana Romano, widow of weightlifting champion Yossef, were among those attending a commemoration of what Mr Cameron called “one of the darkest days” in Games history.

“As the world comes together in London to celebrate the Games and the values it represents, it is right that we should stop and remember the 11 Israeli athletes who so tragically lost their lives when those values came under attack in Munich 40 years ago,” he said.

“It was a truly shocking act of evil. A crime against the Jewish people. A crime against humanity. A crime the world must never forget.

“We remember them today, with you, as fathers, husbands, and athletes, as innocent men, as Olympians and as members of the people of Israel, murdered doing nothing more and nothing less than representing their country in sport.”

The Jul 7 terrorist atrocity that killed 52 on London’s transport system the day after the city was awarded the 2012 Games in 2005 meant British people understood the impact of terrorism, he said.

The two countries share “the same determination to fight terrorism and to ensure that these evil deeds will never win”, Mr Cameron went on.

“We remember, too, the six Israeli holidaymakers brutally murdered by a suicide bomber in Bulgaria just last month. And let me say that we in Britain will do everything we can in helping to hunt down those responsible for that attack.

“Britain will always be a staunch friend of Israel. And we will stand with the Jewish people and with all victims of terror around the world, whoever they are and wherever they are from.

“Seven years on from 7/7 I am proud that as we speak, this great city of London — probably the most diverse city in the world — is hosting athletes from 204 nations. And I am delighted that a strong Israeli team is among them.”

The two widows unsuccessfully campaigned for the massacre to be marked with a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony.

Instead, the silence was held in London’s Olympic Village at the signing of the Olympic Truce, the first time it has happened inside an athletes’ village.


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