|Part of Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon|
|Date||15 May 1974|
|Target||Netiv Meir elementary school|
|Spree killing, hostage taking, school shooting|
|Deaths||31 Israelis (+ 3 attackers)|
|Perpetrators||Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine|
The Ma'alot massacrewas a Palestinian terrorist attack that occurred in May 1974 and involved a two-day hostage-taking of 115 Israeli people which ended in the murders of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) entered Israel from Lebanon. Soon afterwards they attacked a van, killing two Israeli Arab women while injuring a third and entered an apartment building in the town of Ma'alot, where they killed a couple and their four-year-old son. From there, they headed for the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage on 15 May 1974, in Ma'alot. Most of the hostages were teenagers from a high school in Safad on a Gadna field trip spending the night in Ma'alot. The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students. On the second day of the standoff, the Sayeret Matkal stormed the building. During the takeover, the hostage-takers killed children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) is a Palestinian Marxist–Leninist–Maoist, secular political and militant organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah. It is a member organization of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.
Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.
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Ma'alot, located on a plateau in the hills of the Western Galilee region of Israel, six miles south of the Lebanese border,is a development town founded in 1957 by Jewish immigrants, mainly from Morocco and Tunisia. The attack was carried out by three members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) dressed in Israel Defense Forces uniforms.
Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, the largest city Casablanca. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction.
Tunisia (officially the Republic of Tunisia) is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, covering 163,610 square kilometres. Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. It is bordered by Algeria to the west and southwest, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Tunisia's population was 11.435 million in 2017. Tunisia's name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.
The Israel Defense Forces, commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal, are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel; Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi has served as Chief of Staff since January 15, 2019.
The DFLP terrorists infiltrated through the Nahal Mattat Nature Reserve from south of the Lebanese village of Rumaysh. The group entered Israel near Moshav Zar'it on Sunday night, 13 May. They were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and plastic explosives of Czechoslovakian manufacture. They hid until the next night in the orchards near the Druze village of Hurfeish. A border patrol unit discovered their footprints but could not follow the trail, and mistakenly reported to superiors that the footprints belonged to smugglers. [ citation needed ]
Mattat is a small community settlement in northern Israel. Located near the Lebanese Border between the cities of Ma'alot-Tarshiha and Safed, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 193.
Rmeish is located in south Lebanon, Caza Beint Jbeil near the Lebanese-Israeli border covering an area of 20 km2. The ruins found in the village indicate that the area was occupied by the Romans and the Crusaders at some stage in history.
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second wave of aliyah. A resident or a member of a moshav can be called a "moshavnik".
Proceeding to Ma'alot up the winding road, they encountered a van driven by a Druze resident of Hurfiesh bringing Christian Arab women from the village of Fassuta home from work at the Ata Textile Works in the Haifa Bay area. The leader of the operation, Linou, stood on the roadway and opened fire on the vehicle, instantly killing one woman, and wounding both the driver and other workers, one of whom later died of her wounds. The driver turned off the headlights and drove backwards up the hill towards Moshav Tzuriel.
Fassouta is a local council on the northwestern slopes of Mount Meron in the Northern District of Israel, south of the Lebanese border. In 2017 it had a population of 3,098, nearly all of whom are Israeli Arab Christians.
Haifa is the third-largest city in Israel – after Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – with a population of 281,087 in 2017. The city of Haifa forms part of the Haifa metropolitan area, the second- or third-most populous metropolitan area in Israel. It is home to the Bahá'í World Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a destination for Bahá'í pilgrims.
Tzuriel is a moshav in northern Israel. Located in the Galilee, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ma'ale Yosef Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 323.
Reaching Ma'alot, the militants knocked on the doors of several homes.Fortuna and Yosef Cohen heard the noise and opened their door. The militants shot and killed the couple, their 4-year-old son Eliahu and wounded their 5-year-old daughter Miriam. Fortuna, seven months pregnant, tried to flee the intruders, but she was also shot. The only one in the family who survived unhurt was 16-month-old Yitzhak, a deaf-mute. From there, the militants headed for the Netiv Meir Elementary School where students on a school trip were lodged. On the way, they met Yaakov Kadosh, a sanitation worker, and asked for directions to the school. They beat and shot him, leaving him for dead.
Netiv Meir Elementary School was a three-story concrete building with apartment buildings under construction nearby. The militants entered the building at 4 am, taking 102 students hostage. The teenagers spending the night in the school building were out on a three-day trip. They were students from a high school in Safad. Allegedly one of the parents of the slain teenagers had begged the headmaster to cancel the trip after learning that militants had entered the area. By then it was considered too late to cancel the trip because all the arrangements had been made. Three of four teachers escaped by jumping through the window, abandoning their 90 pupils to their fate, which created a lot of bitterness among the parents. The teachers were immediately suspended from their posts by local authorities. 85 students and several teachers were held hostage. The students were forced to sit on the floor at gunpoint, with explosive charges between them.
In the morning, the militants demanded the release from Israeli prisons of 23 Arab and three other prisoners, including Kozo Okamoto – a Japanese national involved in the 1972 Lod Airport Massacre. Unless these conditions were met, they declared that they would kill the students. The deadline was set for 6:00 pm the same day.
At 10 am a young man named Sylvan Zerach, at home on leave from the army, stood near the base of the tall concrete water tower not far from the school building to get a closer view of what was going on. He was killed by the militants. At an emergency session of the Knesset, a decision was reached to negotiate, but the hostage-takers turned down a request for more time.
At 17:25, the commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces group was given the 'green light' to storm the building. The assault force was divided into three units; two to break in from the entrance while a third was to climb a ladder and enter from a window facing north. The squads moved into position from the blind side to the east, from the frames of some apartment buildings under construction. The operation was to have been coordinated with simultaneous sniper fire on the three hostage-takers. At 17:32 the first squad entered the building through the main entrance on the first floor, which was blocked with tables and chairs. The first three-man team, led by Yuval Galili of Kibbutz Geva, was hit by gunfire on the stairs leading to the second floor. Galili threw a phosphorus grenade into the second floor hallway to create a smokescreen. The smoke from the explosion blinded the second team led by Amiran Levine, which had been ordered to take out Linou, at that time posted at the third floor window where he had shot Zerach.[ citation needed ]
When they broke into the classroom where the students were being held, Haribi grabbed a student, Gabi Amsalem, and held him at gunpoint on the floor. Rachim was shot dead but Linou managed to reach the classroom, grab several magazines from the teacher's desk and reload his weapon. He then sprayed the students with machinegun fire and tossed grenades out the window. When a burst of fire broke his left wrist, he threw two grenades at a group of girls huddled on the floor. Several students leaped from the windows to the ground, some ten feet below.
Beside the three DFLP militants, twenty-two high school students were killed in the attack and over fifty were wounded. The student victims were buried in their hometown, Safed.Some of the 10,000 mourners who attended the funerals chanted "Death to the terrorists".
The next day Israel Defense Forces planes bombed offices and training bases of the DFLP and PFLP. According to a BBC report, the bombing inflicted damage in seven Palestinian refugee camps and villages in southern Lebanon killing at least 27 people and leaving 138 injured.
After an investigation Attorney General Meir Shamgar decided that the three teachers who escaped and abandoned their students had done no wrong. Parents of the victims angrily rejected the report.
The massacre led to the creation of the Yamam special police unit.
Amos Horev, President of Haifa's Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, headed a Commission of Inquiry in May 1975 that investigated the massacre. The subsequent Commission Report listed a number of mistakes made by the government and security forces, and made several recommendations.
In 2007, American filmmakers visited Ma'alot to film a documentary on the massacre. A memorial corner in the library of the Netiv Meir school displays photographs of the victims and archival footage on the massacre. A feature movie, Their Eyes Were Dry, retells the story of the massacre.
A Reform synagogue in southern California is named Shir Ha-Ma'alot ("Song of Ascent") in memory of the victims.
Baruch Kopel Goldstein was an American-Israeli physician, religious extremist, and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125. He was beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.
The Yamam (Hebrew: ימ"מ, an acronym for Special Police Unit, also called Israel's Counter Terrorism Unit in English, is an Israeli counter-terrorism unit, one of four special units of the Israel Border Police. The Yamam is capable of both hostage-rescue operations and offensive take-over raids against targets in civilian areas. Besides military duties, it also performs SWAT duties and undercover police work.
Dalal Mughrabi was a Palestinian militant who was a member of the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and participated in the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in Israel. The attack resulted in the death of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. Mughrabi and eight other militants were also killed in the course of the operation. She has been hailed as a martyr and a national hero among some Palestinians, while in Israel and some other countries she is seen as a terrorist.
The 1973 Rome airport attacks and hijacking were a set of Palestinian terrorist attacks originating at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino International Airport in Rome, Italy, resulting in the deaths of 34 people. The attacks began with an airport terminal invasion and hostage-taking, followed by the firebombing of Pan American World Airways Flight 110.
The Kiryat Shmona massacre was an attack by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command on civilians in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona on 11 April 1974. Eighteen people were killed, nearly half of them children, and 16 were wounded.
The Savoy Hotel attack was a terrorist attack by members of the Palestine Liberation Organization against the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 4–5 March 1975.
The Coastal Road massacre of 1978 was an attack involving the hijacking of a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed, and 71 were wounded. The attack was planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by the PLO faction Fatah. The plan was to seize a luxury hotel in Tel Aviv and take tourists and foreign ambassadors hostage in order to exchange them for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Operation "Wrath of God", also known as Operation "Bayonet", was a covert operation directed by the Mossad to assassinate individuals involved in the 1972 Munich massacre in which 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team were killed. The targets were members of the Palestinian armed militant group Black September and operatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the autumn of 1972, the operation is believed to have continued for over twenty years.
Events in the year 1974 in Israel.
Events in the year 1972 in Israel.
The 1974 Nahariya attack was a raid by three Palestinian militants, belonging to the Fatah militant organization, which took place during the night between 24 and 25 June 1974. The Palestinian militant squad infiltrated the coastal city of Nahariya in Israel by sea from Lebanon. Three civilians and one Israeli soldier were killed during the event. The attack was the first time in which militants infiltrated into Israel from Lebanon by sea.
The 1974 Beit She'an attack, which took place during November 19, 1974, was a raid by a squad of three Palestinian militants, belonging to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant organization, on the Israeli city of Beit She'an.
The Misgav Am hostage crisis, which began during the night of April 7, 1980, was a raid carried out by a squad of five Palestinian militants belonging to the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front militant organization, on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am in which the militants captured a group of toddlers and babies in the children's sleeping quarters of the kibbutz and held them as hostages. The event ended the next day with the takeover of the terrorist stronghold by Israeli special forces.
The murder of the Aroyo children was a terrorist attack which occurred on 2 January 1971, in which two Israeli children were killed when Palestinian militants threw a hand grenade into the moving car of the Aroyo family which was touring the Gaza Strip. The attack was a turning point in the way Israel began relating towards terrorist threats originating from the Gaza Strip. Following the attack Israel launched an extensive counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon was a conflict initiated by Palestinian militants based in South Lebanon upon Israel since 1968 and upon Christian Lebanese factions since mid-1970s, which evolved into the wider Lebanese Civil War in 1975 and lasted until the expulsion of the Palestinian Liberation Organization from Lebanon in the 1982 Lebanon War. Though the PFLP-GC and some other Palestinian factions continued a low-level military activities on Lebanese soil, after 1982 the conflict is considered to have faded in favor of local inter-Lebanese Mountain War and the Israel–Hezbollah conflict. The South Lebanon Palestinian insurgency, which peaked through the 1970s, claimed thousands of Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian military and civilian lives, and is considered among the key elements to start the Lebanese Civil War.
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