In December 1979 some miscreants occupied the Grand Mosque in Mecca. I have read the Wikipedia article regarding this, but i am still unclear who broke this siege. Were they Pakistan army commandos or French commandos? Were Pakistani commandos really called for help there?

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    if you believe French, unbelievers, were called in to help, then ordered to convert to Islam because they could not enter Mecca otherwise (even as guests of the religious authorities apparently, not even in a national emergency), why do you find it so hard to believe Pakistani were asked for help, fellow Sunni Muslims?
    – jwenting
    May 22, 2014 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


Probably unable to answer in the short term. The parties involved do not want to reveal their participation in any details, and the blogerati on all sides want to claim credit. It is difficult to sort out the signal from the noise.

Having said, that, based on several minutes of research, I suspect the answer is: Both. There are conflicting sources that assert that French commandos carried out the raid and that Pakistani commandos carried out the raid. The most plausible answer I suspect is:

As the casualties climbed, a team of three French commandos from the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN) arrived in Mecca. Because of the prohibition against non-Muslims entering the holy city, they converted to Islam in a brief, formal ceremony. Saudi Arabia also used an elite unit of the SSG, the commando unit of the Pakistan Army. Iranian.com

  • sounds plausible. They called in Pakistani anti-terrorist troops, when they failed in a direct assault the French were brought in to contain the damage (and no doubt act as scapegoats were they also to fail).
    – jwenting
    May 23, 2014 at 12:23

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