The Sputnik columnist Olga Bugrova writes that the hijackers were terrorists from the Red Army Fraction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang (named after the last names of two of its main leaders), one of the most active revolutionary terrorist organizations in postwar West Germany.
“The month of October 1977 was the peak of its activity,” says Ilia Zhenin, professor of the Department of General History of the Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
The professor explains that it was a far-left organization that appeared in Europe during the 1968 student riots and that it was painfully received especially in Germany, since the radical left criticized the authorities because many German politicians had started their careers during the period of the Third Reich.
First the members of the faction discussed it, then they went to destroy the cathedrals of capitalism: They burned supermarkets and robbed banks, says Zhenin. And at the same time he adds that his military activity consisted of kidnappings in order to receive a ransom and carry out assassinations.
The hijacking of the plane was organized by the German extremists with their accomplices of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who promised to shoot the passengers if the German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, did not meet two requirements. The first was to pay $ 15 million by the president of the Union of Entrepreneurs kidnapped. The second was to release 12 terrorists from prisons. The businessman was shot for not having been rescued.
The authorities promised to release the terrorists, and even persuaded the kidnappers that their companions were already at large and to wait for an encounter in Somalia. But by then they would have already assassinated the Boeing commander.
At that time Somalia was the only country that allowed Germany to carry out an anti-terrorist operation on its territory, although it did not do so for free. The plane was drawn in at night. At the airfield in Mogadishu welcome fires were lit, which actually turned out to be part of a diversionary maneuver.
When the doors of the Boeing began to explode and German voices ordered the passengers to fall to the ground, the terrorists made the mistake of not mixing with them and tried to resist. In seven minutes three of the four were eliminated, and the latter was seriously injured. On the same day in Germany, five radicals who were part of the combat nucleus of the Red Army Fraction died. The circumstances in which they died, Bugrova points out, remain unclear.