1974 French Embassy attack in The Hague

The 1974 French Embassy attack in The Hague was an attack and siege on the French Embassy in The Hague in the Netherlands starting on Friday 13 September 1974. Three members of the Japanese Red Army (JRA) stormed the embassy, allegedly on the orders of their leader Fusako Shigenobu, demanding the release of their member Yatsuka Furuya. The ambassador and ten other people were taken hostage. The siege and negotiations lasted five days, resulting in the release of Furuya, the embassy hostages and a safe flight out of the Netherlands for the terrorists. During the incident, a café in Paris was bombed which was linked to the embassy crisis.

A helmeted policeman stands at the entrance of the French Embassy during the siege, 15 September 1974.


The Japanese Red Army was a communist terrorist organisation dedicated to eliminating the Japanese government and monarchy and launching a worldwide revolution. The organisation carried out many attacks and assassinations in the 1970s, including the Lod Airport massacre in Tel Aviv three years earlier.[1]

Embassy attack

Police officers around the embassy on 15 September

Three Japanese Red Army members stormed the embassy on Friday 13 September 1974. A few minutes later, three Dutch policemen entered the embassy and were immediately caught under fire. Two policemen were seriously injured due to the gunfire and the other opened fire.[2] One of them was policewoman Hanke Remmerswaal, who was shot in the back, puncturing a lung.

The Red Army demanded the release of their member Yoshiaki Yamada (also known as Yatsuka Furuya), one million dollars, as well as the use of a French aeroplane. Due to the position of the building in a central part of the city (Smidsplein), the Dutch authorities, in consultation with the Government of France, chose to negotiate for the release of the hostages instead of mounting a rescue operation.[3]

The two female hostages were released after two days.

Paris café attack

Le Publicis Drugstore bombing
LocationSaint‐Germain‐des‐Pres, Paris, France
Date15 September 1974
Attack type
Grenade attack
PerpetratorsPopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

On 15 September, a grenade was thrown into the Le Publicis Drugstore café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés district in Paris. The attack killed two people and wounded 34, including two children who were maimed.[4] The attack was linked to the still ongoing siege and hostage-taking at the French embassy in The Hague.[5]

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility of the attack, and in 1996 a former member of the group, Carlos the Jackal, was charged with the attack.[6] The hostage-taking by the PFLP-allied JRA in The Hague had also been orchestrated by Carlos according to prosecutors.[5] The Paris attack was said to have finally pressured the French government into releasing the jailed JRA member.[5] Carlos personally claimed responsibility for the attack in a 1979 interview with an Arab magazine, which he later denied.[5]

End of siege

The Boeing 707 carrying the terrorists taking off from Schiphol on 17 September

After lengthy negotiations, around 10:00 am on Tuesday 17 September, the France agreed, in return for the release of the hostages, to free Furuya from a French prison, US$300,000, in addition to a flight out of the Netherlands in an Air France-owned Boeing 707, which would later take off with the four terrorists and a Dutch-English crew piloted by Pim Sierks from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. The plane flew the hostage-takers to Aden, South Yemen for refueling, before bringing them to Damascus, Syria. They were then forced to give up their ransom and weapons, which were then returned to the French Embassy in Damascus.[7]

According to Ambassador Jacques Senard, at least 20 shots were fired by the terrorists during the siege. Both the captives and Dutch authorities claimed that the kidnappers were highly trained; the ambassador called the group's leader a "skilled negotiator".[8]


The Government of France said on 18 September that its secret service would organise an international effort against the Japanese Red Army.[8]

The Dutch Budget Day (Dutch: Prinsjesdag), where the reigning monarch addresses Parliament and proposes the next year's budget, was scheduled for 17 September. The traditional ride in the Golden Coach did not happen. Instead Queen Juliana was driven in a car, along a heavily protected route.[3]

The JRA's next major activity would be the August 1975 AIA building hostage crisis in Malaysia.

Trial of attackers

Kazue Yoshimura was arrested by Peruvian DIRCOTE agents in Lima on 25 May 1996 after alleged contacts with members of the Maoist Shining Path (SP) insurgency.[9] The trace to her arrest was established after the 1995 Bucharest capture of Yukiko Ekita with a false Peruvian passport. She had supposedly intended on traveling to the coca-growing Huallaga Valley, the last stronghold of the diminished Peruvian Maoist insurgency as well as a drug-trafficking haven.[10] According to the Peruvian Caretas magazine, she was aiming on helping establish a JRA presence in South America and may have even established contacts with Jun Nishikawa, another JRA operative later captured in Bolivia. Yoshimura was later deported to Japan by the government of Alberto Fujimori (a Japanese Peruvian), who stated that there was no proof against her despite the overwhelming intelligence data. The move was allegedly the result of pressure from Japanese authorities. In December 1997, Yoshimura was sentenced to two and half years imprisonment for passport forgery.[11]

Two of the three members who allegedly attacked the embassy, Haruo Wakō and Nishikawa were detained and extradited to Japan, where they were later imprisoned.

The other member, Junzō Okudaira, is still at large. Fusaku Shigenobu was captured by the Japanese police on 8 November 2000, after many years on the run. She was found guilty of her involvement in the attack and sentenced in 2006 to 20 years in prison.[12][13]

Carlos the Jackal faced trial for the Paris café attack in 2017, and was given a third life sentence. During the trial he claimed that "no one in the Palestinian resistance has executed more people than I have," and claimed responsibility for a total of about 80 killings.[14][15] It is thought he bombed the café to put more pressure on the French government into the JRA's demands in Netherlands. Carlos had already been imprisoned since 1996 for other international terrorist activities.[16]

This event was featured in the 2010 biopic miniseries Carlos about the terrorist Carlos the Jackal. In the film The Assignment the attack is fictionalized as one Carlos launched specifically to kill a CIA agent who he recognized incidentally while at the cafe there, disconnected from the French Embassy attack.


  1. "Those named by Lebanese officials as having been arrested included at least three Red Army members who have been wanted for years by Japanese authorities, most notably Kōzō Okamoto, 49, the only member of the attacking group who survived the Lod Airport massacre." "Lebanon Seizes Japanese Radicals Sought in Terror Attacks", The New York Times, 19 February 1997.
  2. "Shigenobu indicted in embassy attack". Japan Times. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  3. "Aflevering - Gijzeling Franse ambassade - Andere Tijden". Andere Tijden (in Dutch). Retrieved 2017-01-22.
  4. "Grenade Explosion Kills 2 and Hurts 26 In Paris Drugstore". The New York Times. 16 September 1974.
  5. "Carlos the Jackal to face trial in France over 1974 bombing". The Guardian. 12 March 2017.
  6. "Infamous Terrorist Charged in 1974 Paris Cafe Grenade Bombing". Associated Press. 22 February 1996.
  7. "Terrorists Land,@Relinquish Money". The New York Times. 19 September 1974.
  8. "French Envoy Felt Terrorists Would Carry Out Death Threat". The New York Times. 19 September 1974.
  9. "PERU: SUSPECTED JAPANESE RED ARMY TERRORIST TO BE DEPORTED - AP Archive". www.aparchive.com. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  10. "Peru to Send Red Army Guerrilla Suspect to Japan". The New York Times. 6 June 1996. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  11. "CARETAS HOME PAGE". www2.caretas.pe. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  12. "JURIST - Japanese Red Army founder sentenced to 20 years for French embassy attack". www.jurist.org. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
  13. "BBC News | ASIA-PACIFIC | Japanese Red Army leader charged". news.bbc.co.uk. 30 November 2000. Retrieved 2017-01-22.
  14. "'Carlos the Jackal' jailed over 1974 Paris grenade attack". Sky News. 28 March 2017.
  15. "Carlos the Jackal loses bid to fight last of three life sentences". Reuters. 16 March 2018.
  16. "Carlos the Jackal blows kisses in court during theatrical diatribe: 'Revolution is my job'". The Independent. 6 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2022-05-01.


  1. http://www.geschiedenis24.nl/andere-tijden/afleveringen/2003-2004/Gijzeling-Franse-ambassade.html
  2. http://www.boekenwebsite.nl/geschiedenis/de-gijzeling
  3. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20001202a6.html
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