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Country Allowed Terrorist Visits

September 14, 2002

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) _ Authorities in the former communist Czechoslovakia were aware of visits by a Palestinian who masterminded the attack against Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, an offticial revealed Friday.

According to a document dated Aug. 23, 1978, Czechoslovak authorities knew that Mohammed Oudeh, known by the code name Abu Daoud, was a terrorist at the time of his visits in 1977 and 1978, said Pavel Bret, the deputy director of a government-sponsored agency charged with investigating communist-era crimes.

``We assume communist authorities tolerated international terrorists if their activities were not aimed at the former Soviet bloc,″ Bret said. ``This attitude meant that they, more or less, supported terrorism.″

Daoud was a member of a shadowy Palestinian terrorist group called Black September that took Israeli weightlifters hostage at the 1972 Olympic Games. Eleven Israelis and a German police officer were killed during a near two-day standoff.

Czechoslovakia broke up peacefully in 1993 into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Bret told The Associated Press that the 1978 document said ``Abu Daoud was a mastermind of an armed attack on Israeli sportsmen during the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.″

Bret said investigations showed that Daoud was in the country in 1977 during a meeting of the International Olympic Committee, and for a second time, spending 10 days there in August 1978. He entered Czechoslovakia using an Algerian passport.

Bret said members of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes hadn’t determined the why Daoud visited.

Bret said the communist authorities chose not to arrest Daoud, who traveled on an Algerian passport, even though they knew of his connection to the terrorist attack.

German police issued an arrest warrant for Daoud in 1999 after he revealed in his autobiography the role he had played in the attack. He is now believed either in hiding or dead.

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