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The Black September Jumbo Jet Bomb Threat in 1972

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The Black September Jumbo Jet Bomb Threat in 1972

On September 12, 1972, a well known Palestinian terrorist group supposedly called the FAA stating that someone was going to carry nitroglycerin hidden in a perfume bottle onto a Jumbo Jet located in an undisclosed airport.

The terrorist group was the infamous Black September organization.

The group named itself after the Black September conflict which began September 16, 1970, when King Hussein of Jordan declared military rule. The King’s decision resulted in the deaths or expulsion of thousands of Palestinians from Jordan.

This conflict triggered the a small cell of Fatah men who were determined to take revenge upon King Hussein and the Jordanian army. Black September was born.

According to FBI files, the reason behind the 1972 terror threat was the freedom of 300 prisoners held in Israel. The call only indicated that it would happened in Munich, Germany or American East Coast.

The call was handled with high importance due to the fact that the Munich Massacre happened only days before. The Munich Massacre was the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by Black September.

The matter was immediately investigated and an all-points bulletin was issued to airlines up and down the eastern seaboard.

After investigating the matter, the FBI determined that the “matter has no basis in fact.” Also, the matter “is an outgrowth of a rumor running rampant the last several days and has no validity whatsoever. Military intelligence groups advise that they are in possession of no information that would lend credence to any of these rumors.”

Not long after this threat, Nixon along with other high ranking government officials began receiving similar threats. These threats claimed they were from the Black September organization; however, like the Jumbo Jet case, the threats were considered rumor or “nebulous” at best.

The Black September group was one of the early indications, during the 1970s, that this form of terrorism was not only a threat to all free nations, but it was a threat that was here to stay.

Originally published on

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