Part of the This Day in Islamic Terrorism series. Jan 3, 1978.
The pea-sized pellets were not soluble mercury, which can severely damage the kidneys if ingested, but the metallic mercury of the kind used in thermometers —potentially dangerous to very young children but not to adults. Nonetheless, the tampered oranges were a shock to Europe, especially after it became known that they were fruits of political terrorism. In a letter to the West German government, an extremist group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Army-Palestine Command claimed it had doctored the fruit to disrupt Israel's economy.
At least temporarily, it may have done so. In West Germany, which annually imports 140 million tons of citrus products from Israel, sales were halted while the fruit was checked out. In The Netherlands, supermarket managers put their Jaffa oranges in cold storage until the poisoning scare blew over.
For Israel, the rash of ruined oranges constituted both a new kind of Palestinian attack and a potential economic disaster. The $172 million annual orange export trade is one of the country's major sources of foreign exchange. Israeli growers insist that the injecting took place at shipping centers in Europe and not at the groves themselves; their hypothesis sounded more and more reasonable as first Spanish and then Moroccan oranges, which move through the same European distribution system, displayed the same mercury traces. The Jerusalem Post sarcastically attacked the Palestinians: "They now send their freedom fighters to stab—if not with the sword at least with the syringe—the harmless Jaffa orange."
Leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization were embarrassed by what appeared to be a propaganda boomerang against them. They disavowed the Arab Revolutionary Army and denied that Palestinians had had anything to do with the fruits of terrorism.
The Islamic Terror Calender for January.
Jan 1, 1978 (no date given) Arab Revolutionary Council poisons Israeli Oranges with mercury.
Jan 3, 1999 Pakistan, Gunmen open fire on Shi'a Muslims worshipping in an Islamabad mosque, killing 16 people and injuring 25.
Jan 9-10, 1996 Kizlyar hospital hostage crisis 19 killed, over 160 hostages
Jan 9, 1996 Kizlyar airbase raid at least 33 people were killed in the assault and scores were injured.
Jan 10-19,1996 Jan 10-19 Siege of Pervomayskoye at least 78 killed.
Jan 11, 1998 Algeria Sidi-Hamed massacre Between 120 and 400 people are killed when the Armed Islamic Group bombs a mosque in Haouche Sahraoui and opens fire on civilians in a cinema in Sidi Ahmen.
Jan 12, 2002 Singapore Embassies Plot foiled.
Jan 23, 2002 Daniel Pearl Kidnapped, Beheaded.
Jan 25, 1993 Mir Aimal Kasi fires upon cars near the CIA HQ. killing 2, injuring 3.
Jan 25, 2002 25 people were wounded when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a cafe on a pedestrian mall near Tel Aviv's old central bus station
Jan 30, 2002: An 81-year-old man was killed and over 150 people were wounded, four seriously, in a suicide bombing in the center of Jerusalem. The female terrorist, identified as a Fatah member, was armed with more than 10 kilos of explosives.
Jan 31, 1974 PLFP in conjuction with the Japanese Red Army simultaneously attack a Shell facility in Singapore and the Japanese embassy in Kuwait.