25 Most Intense Hostage Situations Ever

Posted by on September 19, 2013

 For as long as men have been at each other’s throats they have been taking hostages. Although these days the standard response of most governments is that they do not negotiate with terrorists (the primary party responsible for international hostage scenarios in the world today), it doesn’t stop those with agendas from trying to twist politics in their favor through coercion. Here are the 25 most intense hostage situations ever.


Alabama Bunker Hostage Crisis

On January 29, 2013 Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year old Vietnam War veteran hijacked a Dale County school bus and killed its driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr. He also took Ethan, a five-year old student from Midland Elementary School as a hostage. Dyke’s bunker, where he stored some homemade bombs, was equipped with a ventilation pipe used as a mode of communication and to pass through toys, books and medications for Ethan. The crisis came to an end on 5 days later when officers forced through the bunker, killing Dyke and finally freeing Ethan.


Baghdad Church Attack

Our lady of Salvation, a Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, Iraq was attacked on October 31, 2010 during a Sunday evening mass by an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni rebel group. The attack left 58 people dead, while more than 100 people were taken as hostages, 19 of whom were able to escape before Iraqi Special Forces stormed the church to rescue them. Backed by American aerial support, the 4-hour siege resulted in the death of 41 hostages.


Discovery Communications Headquarters Hostage Crisis

The crisis, which ensued on September 1, 2010 at the company’s headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland, started when James Lee took three people as hostages in the building’s lobby. Armed with two starter pistols and an explosive device, 43-year old Lee began by firing a single round at the lobby’s ceiling. After 4 hours of lockdown, evacuation, and negotiations, Lee was shot dead by the police.


The Munich Olympic Tragedy

Commonly known as the “Munich Massacre,” this crisis took place during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in Germany where 11 Israeli team athletes were taken as captives and eventually killed, along with a German officer. Perpetrated by the Palestinian Group ‘Black September,’ they demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israeli prison. Eight of the terrorist’s members were killed during the failed rescue attempt with three surviving assassins captured. Israel responded with ‘Operation Spring of Youth’ and ‘Operation Wrath of God,’ where they tracked down and killed all the Palestinians who were suspected to be involved in the massacre.


The Ma’alot Massacre

This two-day hostage-taking situation involved 115 people, where 105 of them were children. It took place on May 15, 1974 when three armed Palestinian radicals of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine entered Israel from Lebanon. Most of the hostages were teenagers on a field trip and spending a night in Ma’alot in the Netiv Meir Elementary School. The hostage-takers demanded the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons or the students would be killed. When the Golani Brigade stormed the building after two days, the hostage-takers killed their hostages with grenades and automatic weapons ending in the death of 28 hostages, including 22 children.