Carlos the Jackal – 1975

By | November 12, 2016

Carlos had been paid around $30 million for the hostages.


Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was born on 12 October 1949 in Caracas, Venezuela, and joined the communist party in 1959. He became a guerrilla in January 1966 and later that year went to study at the London School of Economics. He enrolled at the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow but was expelled in 1970.

He then joined a terrorist training camp run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Amman, Jordan, where he was given the nickname ‘Carlos’ to which was added ‘Jackal’ after the Frederick Forsyth thriller The Day Of The Jackal was found among his belongings (although reportedly the book belonged to someone else).

In 1973 he took part in the failed assassination attempt on Jewish businessman Joseph Sieff. In 1975 he tried to bring down two El Al airliners at Orly Airport near Paris on 13 January and 17 January with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. On 27 June he shot two policemen as they tried to arrest him in Paris. Six months later, he led six people in an attack on Opec headquarters in Vienna. The gang took more than 60 hostages and demanded that the Austrian government broadcast a pro-Palestinian message on radio and television every two hours. After five days, the terrorists and 42 hostages were flown to Algiers, and then to Baghdad where 30 hostages were liberated.

The plane flew to Tripoli where more hostages were freed, before returning to Algiers where the remaining hostages were set free. The terrorists were granted asylum in Algeria. It was later revealed that Carlos had been paid around $30 million for the hostages and it was alleged that he had kept most of it.


Vienna, Austria


Saturday 20 December 1975


Carlos was arrested in September 1976 in Yugoslavia and then flown to Baghdad. He formed the Organization of Arab Armed Struggle in Aden. They did not carry out any terrorist attacks until 1982 when they failed to destroy the Superphenix, a French nuclear power station.

In September 1991 Carlos was expelled from Syria and moved to Khartoum. On 14 August 1994 he was flown to Paris and charged with the 1975 police murders. On 23 December 1997 he was jailed for life.

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