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Arafat 1972 Massacre Probe Nixed

April 13, 2000

BERLIN (AP) _ German prosecutors have decided not to open a formal investigation of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on suspicion of ties to the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics, the Justice Ministry said Thursday.

The weekly Focus magazine reported that federal prosecutors began checking to determine if Arafat had links to the attack after a book written by a onetime associate, Abu Daoud, said Arafat was aware of it.

Justice Ministry spokesman Christian Arns confirmed that there had been such discussions with the prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe, but a formal inquiry was never started.

Focus said the chief federal prosecutor was in close consultations with the federal government before deciding in February to drop plans to investigate Arafat because of German national interests and fear of endangering the ongoing Middle East peace process.

The chief prosecutor’s office and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the case when contacted by The Associated Press.

On Sept. 5, 1972, Palestinian militants took over a dormitory housing Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Following a 20-hour standoff, nine Israelis died in a bungled rescue attempt after the Palestinians killed two others. A German policeman and five Palestinian militants also were killed.

Arafat headed the Palestinian Liberation Organization at the time of the attack.

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