Palestinian guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat received a VIP tour of the Olympic village today, eight years after Palestinian gunmen stormed the Munich Olympic village and killed 11 Israeli athletes.
After the tour Arafat told Soviet television viewers the Moscow Games will help strengthen friendship among nations.
The Palestine Liberation Organization which Arafat heads, has never condemned the 1972 terrorist attack on the Munich Olympic village. Soviet officials consistently have turned aside complaints by Western journalists of too much security at the heavily guarded village here by saying the precautions were taken to prevent a repeat of the violence in Munich. The Black September movement, which is now inactive, carried out the 1972 raid on the Israeli team's living quarters.
Arafat was shown the international area, which includes shops and restaurants and is open to foreign visitors with special permission. A Soviet spokesman denied reports that Arafat was allowed into the cordoned-off residential area where about 6,000 athletes live.
Arafat spoke with Arab and African athletes and tonight appeared on Soviet national television to denounce the United States boycott and assert that the success of the Games shows the boycott was meaningless.
Israel is among the boycotting nations. Eighty-one countries are represented at Moscow, the smallest number since the 1956 Olympics.
It was also learned today that Soviet aviation authorities abruptly closed Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport yesterday to incoming foreign airliners during the three-hour opening ceremony for the Games, which was presided over by Leonid Brezhev.
The closing, radioed to incoming aircraft, lasted form 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Soviet officials are said later to have told the airlines it was to preserve peace and quiet at Luzhniki Sports Complex and its centerpiece, the Lenin Central Stadium, where the ceremonies were held. The stadium is about 25 miles from the airport. Moscow airspace is closed to most aircraft.
In all, three foreign airliners were diverted: a British Airways flight from London landed at Helsinki, an Iberia flight went to Warsaw, and a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt was forced to return. A passenger later said the Lufthansa pilot said such an abrupt closing without explanation was unheard of in internatinal flights to Moscow.