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Old 27-10-19, 19:59   #1
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Movies The ORIGINAL SAS of The World >1 Hero Finally Talks

SAS Hero of Iranian Embassy Siege Explains How One Civilian Saved 19 Lives

Gunmen took 26 people hostage on April 30, 1980, and six days later explosive images of the SAS rescue heroes were beamed around the world

The ORIGINAL SAS/SBS started in the UK and when Sir Winston Churchill was Prime Minister he sent some of them to train up Australian, Canadian and some European countries' troops and after train up the US military so each of them had their own SAS
/SBS Elite Units

***Many years ago the SAS found Osama Bin Laden hiding in the caves of Bora Bora. They were ordered to stand down and wait for the Americans to arrive to capture him. By the time they did Bin Laden had escaped into Pakistan. That was NEVER reported in the US media, as weren't the UK media reports SIX WEEKS before 9/11, that the US was going to be hit by air attacks
The warnings came from British and Israeli Intelligence Services..

Daily Mirror/BBC, 27 OCT 2019.

The country held its breath for six days when six armed terrorists held 26 hostages insiade the Iranian Embassy in London.

The gunmen, all members of Arabs of KSA Group, demanded the release of Arab prisoners from around the world and their own safety in return for handing over the hostages.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher refused to guarantee the terrorists safe passage out of the UK and between April 30 and May 5, 1980, the world watched and waited.

Frustrated and angry at the lack of progress by 1pm on the final day of the seige, one of the armed me told the police negotiator unless he could speak to an Arab ambassador within 45 minutes, one of the hostages would die.

Exactly 45 minutes after the demands were made, shots were fired inside the building.

Sim Harris, the BBC sound man, left, leaps to safety from the Iranian Embassy, protected by one of the SAS (Image: AP Photo)

The SAS storm the building (Image: AP Photo/Schaber)

Members of the SAS in position outside the building (Image: AP Photo)

But what the gunmen didn't know was that in the very building next door a crack team of SAS soldiers were lying in wait for the moment they would swoop in.

The elite troops had been in place almost from the very first day and were ready to leap into action at all times.

Rusty Firman was a Lance Corporal in the SAS B Squadron.

When the seige broke out he was just 30 years old and was preparing for a training exercise when the call came.

The elite troops were transferred from their base to Regent's Park Barracks, still four miles from the embassy.

Black smoke pours from the roof of the Iranian Embassy (Image: AP Photo/Schaber)

The elite squad make their way into the building and are caught on camera for the first time (Image: AP Photo)

The teams covered each of the floors (Image: AP Photo/Schaber)

However by the early hours of 1st May, one team was in place in the building next door.

By May 2 the whole squardon was moved into the building, working in 12 hour shifts, making sure one was always ready to storm the building if they were needed.

Rusty said: "The team on duty was fully armed and ready to go."

But one thing Rusty and his comrades desperately needed to ensure they could get all the hostages out alive was the time to plan.

Over the following days they used everything within their power to gather intelligence about the layout of the building, where the hostages were being held and who the terrorists were.

Rusty was just 30 when he led a team into the Iranian Embassy
Holes were drilled in walls so listening devices could be implanted and the SAS worked tirelessly to make sure they were prepared.

And Rusty credits one man with buying them the time they needed to make sure they were prepared.

He said: "Max Vernon was the head negotiator. He kept them talking for six days and bought us time.

"He deserves more credit than he ever got. Without that extra time the outcome could have been very different."

Max was a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police and throughout his career rose to the rank of Chief Superintendant.

Max Vernon was the lead police negotiator

One of his toughest challenges was dealing with the Iranian Embassy seige gunmen.

Max said: "I was aware that if I said the wrong thing then someone could die.

"People talk about building up a rapport. I wasn't seeking a rapport.

"That type of individual I detest because of what they were doing. All I wanted to do was control the situation and communicate."

As well as keeping the gunmen, and in particular their leader, talking Max also took on a far more dangerous role.

Rusty credits Max with being one of the unsung heroes of the rescue

Police, who were running the operation, had very little intelligence on who the terrorists actually were.

Officers made a decision that getting photos of those responsible would help identify them and could help secure the release of the hostages, which included a BBC journalist and a police officer.

Max was the man who volunteered to carry a carton of cigarettes up to the door of the embassy and hand it over so snaps could be taken.

He said: "They could have shot me, or they could have taken me hostage or they could have not done anything at all but I was prepared to do it.

"Looking down the barrel of a machine gun certainly wasn't very pleasant. The one thing I did forget about was the pressure on my family.

Rusty insists he was no hero and was "just doing my job"

"At one point my wife turned the TV off saying to the children 'if dad is going to get himself killed, I don't want to see it'."

Over the six days of the seige the gunmen did free some of the 26 hostages - women and a BBC soundman who pretended he was suffering from stomach cramps.

But there were still many held inside and the SAS were ready for when the time came for them to intervene.

After the three shots were fired, the body of Abbas Lavasani was dumped in the front of the building.

He was the chief press officer for the Iranian Embassy and is believed to have argued with his captors before he was shot dead.

Max said at the time he didn't realise the pressure his family was under

Lavasani's death dramatically changed the state of play.

Max was still in contact with the terrorists.

He said: "When we had a dead person I said 'we have a different position now, you have gone over the line, and he said 'yes, I know'."

Until this point the running of the operation had been managed by the Met but with the murder command switched to the SAS.

Within minutes the elite force was in place, ready to storm the building from the ground floor, upper floors and the roof.

Rusty led a team into the ground floor of the building

And for the first time since the SAS's creation during the Second World War, the eyes of the world were on them as press teams had flocked to the building.

There was an almighty explosion and the troops burst into the embassy.

Rusty said: "We entered the building and our job was to go in the back. You could hear genuine fear.

"There was a lot of screaming, a lot of shouting and people crying."

Rusty was leading the team that was tasked with clearing the ground floor.

An explosion heralded the arrival of the SAS

He shot one of the gunmen who was carrying a grenade in his hand - thankfully, the pin was still in.

The heroic actions of the SAS on that bank holiday in 1980 saved the lives of the 19 people still being held hostage.

But modest Rusty insists he has never seen himself as a hero.

He said: "I had a job to do, and that was to rescue the hostages. We did what we were supposed to do."

After the siege was finally over, Max finally succumbed to the pressure he'd been under.

He said: "I sat in in the corner and I cried. I didn't know why I was crying. My boss came in and said 'you have one minute to let your wife know you're OK then get out because this place is going up in flames.

"The next thing I remember, I was at home but I have no memory of how I got there.

"I kept most of the hostages alive through negotiating but it wasn't a peaceful end.

"It wasn't until later that I realised I'd kept them alive and gave the SAS six days of time to plan and gave them the best possible chance with little or no injury to the teams."

The fact Max kept the gunmen talking for so long undoubtedly save lives, agrees Rusty.

He said: "If we had gone in one day one it would have been very bloody."

SAS The Soldier's Story - The Iranian Embassy Siege

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SAS forced to take out job advert as elite regiment battles recruitment crisis


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