McAleese, who Led UK Team that Ended Iranian Embassy Siege, Died at 61
28 Aug 2011 13:07
[ obituary ] (via UK's Telegraph) John McAleese, who died on August 26 aged 61, led the SAS team that ended the Iranian embassy siege in central London in 1980, an event watched live on television by millions of spellbound viewers.
The embassy, at 16 Princes Gate, Knightsbridge, had been taken over on April 30 1980 by six separatists from the oil-rich region in west Iran known as Arabistan. For six days, armed with machine guns, pistols and grenades, they held 26 people hostage as they demanded international recognition for their demands for independence.
For the first time, an SAS operation was shown live on television as both ITV and the BBC (which interrupted its coverage of the final of the world snooker championships) broadcast footage of black-clad troops in balaclavas -- among them McAleese -- abseiling down ropes on to the balconies on the first floor of the embassy, where it was thought that most of the hostages were being held.
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