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Schreiber's men had captured three of the fedayeen, two of whom were wounded, but the Germans were not even sure who they were. The names they gaveSamer Mohamed Abdulah, 22; Abed Kair Al Dnavy, 21; and Ibrahim Mosoud Badnar, 20were more than likely false. Their pictures were flashed on television to see if viewers could identify the men and help trace their path to Munich. Black September demanded their release under threat of further atrocities. Reports circulated that police were seeking 14 other Arabs as terrorists.
Official Arab reaction to the events in Munich was diverse. Jordan's King Hussein appeared on Amman television to offer condolences in Arabic and English to bereaved Israeli families. The murders, the King declared, were "an abhorrent crime" conceived by "sick minds." Egypt, on the other hand, blamed Bonn for everything. "The commandos and the Israeli hostages were killed in a German ambush, by German bullets and in a U.S. base in Germany," said a government spokesman, ignoring the fact that Fürstenfeldbruck is a German airbase and that the hostages, according to all evidence, died from fire or automatic weapons like the fedayeen Kalashnikovs, rather than the sharpshooters' rifles.
Sad New Year. Libya offered to send a chartered plane for the bodies of the dead Arabs. Guerrilla leaders were defensive. "They didn't want to kill," said one. "The Israelis wouldn't have been killed if the Germans hadn't trapped the operation. And no one would have been killed if the Israelis had released their prisoners."
In Israel a crowd of 3,000 met the pine coffins of the victims as they arrived at Lod airport aboard a special El Al plane.* Israelis traditionally bury their dead in shrouds, but these were too burned and broken. Deputy Premier Yigal Allon presided in place of Golda Meir. For the Premier, who is 74, the tragedy was compounded by the death of her older sister, Sheineh Korngold, 83, who emigrated from Milwaukee to Israel with her 51 years ago.
As the bodies were borne off for individual services, 4,000 students demonstrated in Jerusalem's Independence Park. Ma'ariv, Israel's biggest newspaper, said: "We must cut off the arm of terrorism before it is raised to strike us again." Although Rosh Hashana is the nation's heaviest shopping season, stores were generally deserted. The customary greeting of "Shana Tova" (Happy New Year) was passed with ironic emphasis on the "happy."
In the Knesset, Deputies argued about whether the death penalty should be invoked in Israel, where it has been applied only once, against Adolf Eichmann. As long as captured terrorists remain alive and in jail, goes the argument, they will be an incentive for other terrorists to capture hostages with an eye toward making a trade.