The Iranian Embassy siege took place from 30 April to 5 May 1980, after a group of six armed men stormed the Iranian embassy in London. The gunmen, members of an Iranian Arab group campaigning for Arab national sovereignty in Khūzestān Province, took 26 hostages and demanded the release of Arab prisoners from jails in Khūzestān. Police negotiators gradually secured the release of five hostages in exchange for minor concessions. On the sixth day the gunmen, frustrated at the lack of progress, killed a hostage and threw his body out of the embassy. The British government ordered the Special Air Service (SAS), a special forces regiment, to rescue the hostages. During the 17-minute raid, the SAS rescued all but one of the remaining hostages, and killed five of the gunmen. The hostage-takers and their cause were largely forgotten afterwards, but the operation brought the SAS to public attention. It was overwhelmed by the number of applications it received from people inspired by the operation and experienced greater demand for its expertise from foreign governments. The building suffered major damage from fire (aftermath pictured) and did not reopen as the embassy until 1993. (Full article...)
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