Israel marks 30th anniversary of Entebbe

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
I remember this. What an uplifting piece of news on that July 4th three decades ago.

Israel, awaiting word of the fate of a captured soldier, marked the 30th anniversary Tuesday of its dramatic rescue of dozens of hostages from hijacked plane in the African nation of Uganda.

In the Entebbe raid on July 4, 1976, Israeli commandos and paratroopers carried out the hastily planned military operation in 99 minutes, whisking more than 100 hostages out of a terminal at Uganda's international airport and into waiting Hercules military aircraft.

For some Israelis, the anniversary brought back memories of a seemingly lost era of daring, successful Israeli military operations. For others, it served as a continuing warning to Israel's enemies.

"The Entebbe anniversary shows the seriousness with which we attach to freeing our hostages," said Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. "I think people holding Israeli hostages today should understand that we will do everything we can to bring about the liberation of hostages and, of course, punish those involved in hostage taking."

The crisis began on June 27, 1976, when it became clear an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris had been hijacked by militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine after a stopover in Athens. Following a brief refueling in Libya, the plane continued to its final destination, Uganda.

The terrorists separated out the non-Jews and sent the first group to Paris, recalled former Israeli commando Mookie Betzer, the architect of the rescue operation.

Mossad agents paid clandestine visits to the released hostages, hitting the jackpot with a French-Jewish man who was mistakenly released, Betzer told Ynet, the Web site of the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.

The released hostage, a former officer in the French army, was a "serious guy with a phenomenal memory" who supplied information about the hijackers, their positions and their weaponry, Betzer said.

Betzer's operation included airlifting Land Rovers and dozens of paratroopers to Uganda to free the hostages.

Their chances of success were slim, but they had access to the airport's blueprints — provided by the Israeli construction company that had built the terminals — information about the hijackers from the released hostages, and aerial photos taken by a Mossad agent just a few hours before the operation was launched, Betzer said.

Slain in action, Lt. Col. Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu — the older brother of former Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu — became an Israeli icon.
Soundbreaker Welch? said:
Caleb from the Bible could fight well into his 80's.

Well sure, but everyone lived well into the hundreds back then and what does this have to do with the price of cheese in switzerland anyway?
I read about this on Wikipedia. Mossad borrowed some Israeli citizen's new Mercedes to pose as a general or someone in charge. The man whom they were impersonating had just had his Mercedes painted and the guards new this new one was fishy.

Mossad never ceases to amaze me. The things they do... All the odds were against them in this one and they pulled it off.

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