He died of kidney failure, his daughter, Hana Oudeh, told The Associated Press. He was 73.
In later years, as a graying member of the Palestinian old guard, Mr. Oudeh, most commonly known by his guerrilla name, Abu Daoud, showed no remorse for the botched hostage taking and killings of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team that shook the world. He saw the attack as instrumental in putting the Palestinian cause on the map.
“Would you believe me if I tell you that if I had to do it all over, I would?” he said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. “But maybe, just maybe, we should have shown some flexibility. Back in our days, it was the whole of Palestine or nothing, but we should have accepted a Palestinian state next to Israel.”
Mr. Oudeh oversaw the plans of the raid, in which eight Palestinian militants belonging to the Black September group broke into a dormitory at the Olympic village where Israeli athletes were sleeping and took them hostage in the early morning of Sept. 5, 1972. Two of the athletes, a weightlifter and a wrestling coach, tried to overpower the militants, and were shot and killed.
The militants ended up with nine hostages, whom they said they would release in exchange for 200 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel.
Israel refused to negotiate and a standoff ensued for 20 hours, while static television images of an empty balcony on a gray, modern dormitory transfixed the world. The Israeli hostages and their Palestinian captors were eventually transported by helicopters to a military airfield, where they had been promised to be flown to Cairo. Instead, West German sharpshooters tried to rescue the Israelis, setting off a gun battle in which five Palestinians, a German police officer and the nine hostages were killed.
“I am proud of my father,” Mr. Oudeh’s daughter, Wafa Oudeh, said in a phone interview from Damascus, shortly after his burial in the section of a cemetery reserved for martyrs to the Palestinian cause. “As a father he was a special person. He was emotional and generous. He was devoted to his family and to Palestine. His death is like a mountain collapsing.”
In addition to Ms. Oudeh, he is survived by his wife, four other daughters, and a son.
Hamas, Fatah’s rival, released a statement mourning Mr. Oudeh.
Mr. Oudeh was born in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan in 1937. In his younger years he taught Palestinian schoolchildren math and physics, and later became a lawyer.
He lived in East Jerusalem until the 1967 Mideast War, when Israel captured it from Jordan. He then moved to Jordan, where he joined the P.L.O.
In the 1970s, he was a leader of the Black September group, an offshoot of Fatah. After the Munich attack, he lived in Lebanon, Jordan and several Eastern European countries, where he had close ties to Communist bloc intelligence agencies.
For years he was cagey about his involvement in Munich. “Perhaps I was very close to the people involved and they told me some details afterwards,” he said in a 1997 interview. Although he defended the hostage-taking, he said there was no plan to kill the athletes.
But his role was well-known to American and Israeli intelligence officials. In 1981, he was shot several times in a hotel cafe in Warsaw in what was presumed to have been an assassination attempt by the Mossad. He survived, but for decades he lived in exile and on the run.
In 1996, his exile appeared to be over when he and several other former guerrillas were allowed back by to Israel in order to attend an assembly amending the Palestinian national charter. He joined those voting to remove the charter’s call for an armed struggle to destroy the Jewish state.
He settled in the West Bank town of Ramallah, but in 1999, after a trip to Jordan, he was barred by Israel from returning. Earlier that year he had published a memoir, “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich,” in which he acknowledged his role in the Munich attack.
Khaled Abu Aker contributed reporting from Ramallah, West Bank.