Jan 27, 1969, in Baghdad, nine Jews are executed for spying. Baghdad Radio invites Iraqis to “come and enjoy the feast.” An estimated 500,000 men, women and children parade and dance past the hanging bodies and chant “Death to Israel” and “Death to all traitors.” . Baghdad Radio invites Iraqis to “come and enjoy the feast.” An estimated 500,000 men, women and children parade and dance past the hanging bodies and chant “Death to Israel” and “Death to all traitors.”
By 1969, Iraq’s Jewish community had shrunk from more than 130,000 in 1948 to less than 3,000 due to mass emigration caused the establishment of the State of Israel, the subsequent Arab-Israeli wars, and anti-Jewish persecution. The lopsided defeat suffered by the Arab states, including Iraq, against Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War further increased discrimination against Iraq’s remaining Jews: “They were dismissed from government jobs, their bank accounts were frozen and they were confined to house arrest, among other restrictions.” In July 1968, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party took control of Iraq in a bloodless coup. The new government was weak and was in constant fear that it would itself be the target of a coup. After the Israeli Air Force struck an Iraqi military position in northern Jordan on 4 December 1968 in retaliation for the shelling of Israeli communities in the Galilee, the Ba’athist regime began “hunting down an American-Israeli spy ring it said was trying to destabilize Iraq.” The authorities began arresting alleged conspirators shortly thereafter, including twelve Jewish men from Baghdad and Basra.