Conservation Mosque, December 1979, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Smoke on above the Sacred Mosque during the storming of the underground galleries of Marwah-Safa.
It must be immediately said that there is little information about these events in Mecca and it is extremely controversial due to the closeness of both the Islamic world itself and Saudi Arabia in particular.
On November 20, 1979, about 500 extremists led by Juhayman al-Utiibi seized control of the main shrine of Islam - the Sacred Mosque where the Kaaba is located.
At first, they were firing at the crowd, panic and crush began, then some of the hostages were released, about 6,000 hostages remained in the mosque.
The attackers were very well armed and trained, they took key positions, placed snipers, and organized a hospital in the underground galleries of the mosque.
Government forces made several attempts at assault using armored vehicles and helicopters, but all attacks on the mosque were repulsed,Moreover, the terrorists even had ATGMs with them (the question that remains open, or rather, there are several versions of how they were able to carry not the territory of the mosque, like all other weapons, medicines and supplies).
In addition, there is evidence that the terrorists twice released groups of several hundred hostages, which the Saudi troops took for attacking terrorists and fired at them.
The spiritual leader of the invaders was Muhammad al-Qahtani, they believed that in his face Mahdi, mentioned in ancient prophecy Mahdi, the renewer of Islam on the eve of the Last Judgment, came to Earth. Around themselves, they saw intolerable examples of the disintegration of society, demanded that the kingdom be transformed into an Islamic republic following the example of neighboring Iran, incidentally raining a whole barrage of corruption, corruption and excessive pro-Western orientation on the heads of the kingdom rulers.
In the Islamic world, in the absence of intelligible information, mass hysteria begins, rumors that the Mosque was captured by the Americans caused a storm of indignation in Muslim countries. The American Embassy in Islamabad was burned to the ground, several people died in a fire.
In the end, the Saudi authorities came to the conclusion that they needed outside help. And again politics, Riyadh could invite their co-religionists who had relevant combat experience and units from Jordan or Turkey. But then the status of Saudi Arabia as the "chief trustee of Islamic shrines" would be greatly shaken and the Saudis would get a formidable opponent in the Islamic world in the person of the liberators.
As a result, a special forces detachment was invited from Pakistan.
The closest ally of Saudi Western countries was the United States, but they had recently failed in Iran, allowing the shah’s regime to be destroyed there. Then Saudi Arabia turned to France.
On November 23, the commander of the anti-terrorist unit, Captain Barril, and two commandos arrived at Mecca airport. Observing all measures of secrecy, they were taken to a military camp located a few kilometers from Mecca. The next day, Barril, having familiarized himself with the situation, asked the Saudis to show him the plans for the mosque, including the basements. However, it turned out that there are no such plans. In addition, there is not even a person who knows the number and location of all underground corridors under the mosque. In this situation, Barril asked permission to conduct reconnaissance to him and his people.But here, it seemed, an insurmountable obstacle. Barril and his subordinates were not Muslims. They are not like entering the mosque, they cannot come to Mecca. But there was nothing to do. The Saudis themselves could not cope with this task. Therefore, no matter how blasphemy it seemed, the French were allowed to enter Mecca for reconnaissance and reconnaissance. This task "incorrect" successfully coped. Barrill decided to use in the assault paralyzing gas, which would prevent the terrorists to deal with the hostages.
Later, to reassure the citizens, a rumor was started that the French had converted to Islam before entering Mecca.
The French developed a plan of assault, everything happened in an atmosphere of confusion and rivalry between different princes, etc. The French conducted special forces training, first of all, how to work with gas and how to fight in the basement.
December 4, 1979 was the final assault. The combined forces used tanks as rams of the gates of a mosque and Pakistani special forces, spraying tear gas to suppress resistance. They managed to eliminate a large number of rebels, and force the survivors to surrender.
Mahdi was killed, 68 (according to other sources 62) terrorists, including their leader, were captured.
The numbers of dead and injured vary widely from a few hundred to a few thousand.
All the terrorists were executed.
The government of Saudi Arabia significantly restricted civil rights and freedoms in favor of conservative theologians.