On this day in 1977, three members of the terrorist group, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, hijacked Lufthansa Flight 181 as a means to secure the release of Red Army Faction Leaders. Refused landing permission everywhere except Mogadishu, they sat on a runway awaiting their demands. Little did they know, Germany had sent a detachment from the GSG9 to resolve the situation. In a hangar on the runway, they planned their assault (Operation Fire Spell) which was carried out after a terrorist killed a passenger. With speed, audacity and surprise, the team killed all three terrorists and freed all remaining 89 passengers (one flight attendant was wounded by a terrorist during the assault).

Of note, two SAS members, on exchange, took part during the raid. They observed that the use of the new H&K MP5 submachinegun, fired in bursts at close range, proved far more effective at incapacitating the threats than the handguns that other operators were using. They took those observations back with them and convinced their command to evaluate the H&K MP5 submachinegun, which led to its adoption as their new primary CQB weapon. That weapon went on to gain worldwide attention three years later in the hands of SAS Operators during the Iranian Embassy Siege in London in May 1980.