10 Hostage Situations in History That Had Dreadful Outcomes

If you are a witness to a hostage situation, then be prepared and tell the officers the location and the description of the hostage-takers.

2 years ago
10 Hostage Situations in History That Had Dreadful Outcomes

When would you call a hostage situation? It exists when a person is confined to his or her will by a group or individual. This can happen by threatening the individual with or without a weapon. There can be several demands in return against the release of the hostage. A person who seizes more than one hostage is referred to as a hostage-taker. 

There is a long history that indicates political authorities legally agreeing to hand several hostages in custody of the other side. The practice of taking hostages is old and has been used in negotiations with other nations. It continued through the early Middle Ages. 

Earlier, the Irish High King Nail of the Nine hostages got his epithet Noigiallach because by taking nine hostages, he had subjected nine principalities to his power. Hostage practice was also adopted in the period of Company rule in India. 

In France, after the revolution of Prairial, several laws of hostages were passed to meet the insurrection in La Vendee. During the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the Germans took as hostages the people from towns when making requisitions, and it was the practice for the mayor who failed to pay the fine imposed upon it to be seized as hostages and retained till the money was paid. 

What Taking Hostage is Considered Today

Taking a hostage is referred to as a crime. It is an acute situation where hostages are kept at a place that has been taken over by armed forces or criminals and is called a hostage crisis. Hostage-taking is still practiced to raise a ransom or to exchange against other hostages. In some countries, hostage-taking is an industry and is in demand for several reasons. 

1. Alabama Bunker Hostage Crisis

Source = Reutersmedia

On 29th January 2013, the hostage crisis began in the Wiregrass Region near US highway231 in Midland City, Alabama. A 65- year-old Vietnam War-era veteran, Jimmy Lee Dykes, boarded a Dale County school bus and took a 5-year-old boy hostage. 

Later on 4th February, law enforcement agents killed Dykes and rescued the child. In his bunker, he stored homemade bombs and equipped them with ventilation pipes that were used for communication.  

Soon after the shooting and abduction, he called 911 and gave instructions on how to communicate with him. Dykes lived in isolation and lost contact with two daughters before the incident. When he lived in Florida, he was arrested for brandishing a gun. Later, he was arrested for marijuana charges. 

2. The Munich Olympic Tragedy

Source = Timesofisrael

The Munich Olympic Tragedy, or commonly known as Munich Massacre, was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich by members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September. 

They took nine members of the Israeli Olympic hostage after killing two of their members. Palestinian Group ‘Black September’ demanded the release of 234 passengers. Several members were killed during the failed rescue attempt, with three surviving assassins captured. 

Israel responded with different operations like Operation Wrath of God and Operation Spring of Youth and killed Palestinians who were suspected to be involved in the massacre. Two days before the start of the Summer Olympics, in a ceremony, the International Olympic Committee honored the Israelis and one German who was killed at Munich. 

On 4th September, Israeli athletes enjoyed a night out, watched performances, and dined with the star of the play. At 4:30 a.m., as the athletes slept, eight-tracksuit-clad members of Black September carried duffel bags loaded with AKM assault rifles, grenades, and pistols. The Athletes were identified as Americans but were declared as Canadians later. 

3. The Lebanon Hostage Crisis

Source = Wikimedia

The Lebanon Hostage situation involved 96 foreign nationals as prisoner captives from 1982 to 1992. The hostages were Americans and Western Europeans, but 21 national origins were represented. Eight hostages died in captivity, while others died from lack of medical attention. 

The motive for the hostage-taking is thought to have been discouraging rehabilitation by the US or other powers against Hezbollah. The terrorist act was viewed as insurance against retaliation by Syria and other forces. 

Casualties included 58 Frenchmen and 230 Americans who they believed that responsible for Marine barracks and bombings in Beirut. Its end in 1992 is believed to have been expedited by the investment made by Syria and Iran. 

4. Beslan School Hostage Crisis

Source = Cnn

This hostage situation is also called the Beslan School Siege or the Beslan massacre. This situation took place in a Russian town in Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, in September 2004. This hostage situation lasted for three days and involved the imprisonment of over 1100 people, and ended with the deaths of over 300 people, including children.

 The Beslan School Hostage Crisis is considered one of the terrifying hostage situations in history. The crisis began when armed Chechen separatists occupied School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan. 

The hostage-takers were the members of the Riyad-us-Saliheen, sent by the Chechen warlord, who demanded Russian withdrawal from and recognition of the independence of Chechnya. On the third day, Russian security forces stormed the building with heavy weapons. The event led to a series of government reforms strengthening the powers of the President of Russia. 

5. The Manila Hostage Crisis

Source = Reutersmedia

The Manila Hostage Crisis, known as the Rizal Park Hostage-taking incident, happened when a dismissed Philippine National police officer hijacked a tourist bus carrying passengers from Hong Kong in 2010. 

Negotiations broke down for 10 hours into the stand-off, when the police arrested his brother and forced Mendoza to open fire. The driver somehow escaped to run and declared everyone dead before he confronted the policemen. The Philippine and Hong Kong governments conducted individual investigations into the incident. 

The query concluded that Phillippine official poor handling of the situation caused eight hostage deaths. The MPD’s failure and the shoot-out were watched on television and the internet leading both Phillippine and the Hong Kong government to investigate black travel alerts.  

6. The Amenas Hostage Crisis


In 2013, a group of al-Qaeda-linked terrorists run by Mokhtar Belmokhtar captured over 800 people at the Tigantourine gas facility In Amenas. One of Belmokhtar’s senior lieutenants, who led the attack, was among the terrorists killed. 

Over 39 foreign hostages were killed by security guards. The crisis began on the morning of 5th January 2013. Around five terrorists in 5 vehicles entered Algeria from Libya and attacked a bus carrying employees from a natural gas plant near the town of In Amena, far eastern Algeria. 

The terrorists also attacked the Central Processing facility itself and rigged the plant with explosives. For long hours, the gunmen dragged people from their hiding places and shot people as they tried to run away. On 18th January, the terrorists detonated a bomb at the CPF, and the military attacked the CPF bringing the siege to an end. 

7. Sacramento Hostage Crisis

In 1991, 39 employees and customers were taken hostage to an electronics store at the corner of 65th and Stockton in California, near the Florin Mall, for eight hours by four gunmen. During this hostage situation, the four hostage-takers were captured by authorities, and 14 hostages were injured during the crisis. 

Until today, this hostage situation remains the largest hostage rescue operation in US history. Three suspects from ages 7 to 21 were killed, and the fourth one was captured by the authorities. The electronic store, The Good Guys! announced they would set up trust funds for two killed employees and would pay for the funerals of the murder victims. 

8. Lindhurst high school shooting

Source = Sacbee

This hostage situation was a school shooting that occurred in 1992, at Lindhurst high school, in California. The gunman was a former student and killed three students, one teacher and wounded several students before surrendering to police. The former student, Eric Houston, arrived on campus armed with a 12-gauge pump shotgun and a caliber rifle. As he entered the school, he shot his civic teacher during his senior year. 

Next, he pointed a shotgun at another student. Then he entered a classroom with nearly 25 students inside. In police custody, he stated that he lost his job and was angry that he failed to graduate. He claimed not being touched in reality when he committed the murders. A memorial park was constructed on Parkway in Olivehurst in remembrance of people who died that day. 

9. Iran Hostage Crisis

Source = Guim

The Iran Hostage Crisis was a standoff between Iran and the United States. The crisis escalated when Islamists students invaded the American embassy in support of the Iranian revolution. The group took 52 US diplomats hostage for over 400 days from 4th November 1979 to 20th January 1981. 

US President Jimmy Carter called this hostage situation an act of blackmail, and the hostages, victims of terrorism and anarchy. 

When several negotiations failed, the military attempted a rescue operation known as Operation Eagle Claw. Unfortunately, this was also aborted and resulted in the death of American servicemen and civilians.

10. Terry Anderson

Source = History

The famous tennis player Terry Anderson was the last hostage accounted for in 1991. He just finished his game when he was kidnapped from Beirut. For six years and nine months, he was held captive and was shifted to new places. 

His captors were a group of Hezbollah Shiite Muslims. He was the longest-held hostage during the Lebanese civil war. He was released on 4th December 1991 and said he had forgiven his captors. 

Have you ever witnessed any hostage situation? How did you overcome it? Share your experience below.


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