Sunday, 11 September 2011

Iranian Embassy Siege Ends

Daily Mirror dated Tuesday May 6th 1980

Obviously 9/11 (or 11/9 as it should be in the UK) is on every one's minds today and, for those old enough to remember it, the live TV coverage.  21 years before 9/11 the SAS raid that ended the 6 day siege of the Iranian Embassy in London was broadcast live at peak time on a Bank Holiday Monday evening and was viewed by millions of people, mostly in the UK. Both the BBC and ITV interrupted their scheduled programming to show the end of the siege, which proved to be a major career break for several journalists. Kate Adie, the BBC's duty reporter at the embassy when the SAS assault began, went on to report from war zones across the world.

The Iranian Embassy siege took place from 30 April to 5 May 1980, after a group of six armed members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRFLA) stormed the Iranian embassy in South Kensington. The gunmen took 26 people hostage, including Police Constable Trevor Lock of the Metropolitan Police's Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG). Lock was carrying a concealed Smith & Wesson .38-calibre revolver, but was unable to draw it before he was overpowered, although he did manage to press the "panic button" on his radio. Lock was later frisked, but the gunman conducting the search did not find the constable's weapon. 

By the sixth day of the siege the gunmen had become increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress in meeting their demands. That evening, they killed one of the hostages and threw his body out of the embassy. As a result, the British government ordered the Special Air Service (SAS), to conduct an assault to rescue the remaining hostages. During the 17-minute raid, the SAS rescued all but one of the hostages, and killed five of the six terrorists.

At one point during the siege the police guaranteed that a statement would be broadcast on the BBC news in exchange for the release of two people. The hostages decided amongst themselves who would be released.  One was chosen because his loud snoring kept the other hostages awake at night.

Guess who?  Answer at the end of the post.

Even despots can dream.

So what else is new?

Currently featured in an advert for Kronenbourg 1664 lager, playing a slowed down version of their 1980 top 3 hit, ‘Baggy Trousers’, this is what Madness looked like 31 years ago.

The picture is of Muhammad Ali ex World Heavyweight Champion boxer.  Ali had retired in 1979, but returned in 1980.  He is seen here during preparations to face current champion Larry Holmes in an attempt to win a heavyweight title an unprecedented four times. Ali's manager Angelo Dundee refused to let him come out for the 11th round, in what became Ali's only loss by anything other than a decision.

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