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Mastermind behind the Munich Olympics attacks dies

Palestinian leader Abu Daoud, who was the mastermind behind the daring deadly attack against Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, died on July 3 at the age of 73.

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AFP - Palestinian leader Abu Daoud, who planned the daring deadly attack against Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, died Saturday of illness at the age of 73, Palestinian officials said.

Daoud, whose real name was Mohammed Daoud Odeh, "was ill and passed away this morning," in the Syrian capital where he was living, a Palestinian official told AFP.

His funeral is expected to take place following afternoon prayers at the Martyrs Cemetery in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of Damascus, the official added.

A member of the Palestinian National Council, or parliament, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation's main Fatah faction, Daoud was best known for organising the Munich attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes.

He claimed responsibility for the daring attack, in which seven others also were killed, in his book "Palestine, from Jerusalem to Munich" published in 1999.

A press release from his publishers at the time said Abu Daoud "admits full responsibility for organising and preparing the attack against Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games."

The book unleashed fury in Israel which barred him in 1999 from ever setting foot in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Abu Daoud had repeatedly insisted that the Munich attack was "not a terrorist act."

"We were at war with Israel," he told Al-Jazeera television in 1999.

"Our aim was not civilian. We targeted athletes who in reality were Israeli officers and soldiers," he said.

"Every person in Israel is a reservist," he said in the interview.

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