1976 Israeli Commandos REscue Hostages in Entebbe


On June 27, 1976, Air France Flt 139 from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked after a stop in Athens. The plane landed in Entebbe, Uganda. On July 4 Israeli commandos made the flight to Entebbe, quickly overcame the hijackers and Ugandan guards and freed the hostages, losing only one soldier.

Air France Flt 139 with 248 passengers on a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris, was hijacked after taking off from Athens. Two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two Germans carried out the hijacking. After an interim stop in Benghazi, the flight landed in Entebbe Uganda. The Ugandan government, led by Idi Amin supported the hijackers. The hijackers demanded the release of 40 Palestinians held by Israel and 13 other held by four counties. The hijackers separated the Israelis as well as non-Israelis Jews and put them in one room of the terminal. The hijackers released all of the rest of passengers but kept the Israelis the Jews. The crew refused to leave some of the passengers and remained as hostages.

The hostages had set a July 1 deadline, but after the Israeli government said it would negotiate extended the deadline to July 4. In the meantime, the Israeli government under Prime Minister Rabin had instructed the army to develop a plan to rescue the hostages. That plan was given the final go-ahead on July 3 when Israeli Hercules aircraft took off carrying 100 Israeli commandos commanded by General Dan Shomron. The unit in the lead was the elite Israeli Sayeret Matcal.

The Israeli force managed to rush the terminal. Three hostages were killed in the crossfire. All of the hijackers were killed. As the group started returning to the aircraft, they came under fire from the control tower. Three Israeli commandos were wounded, and the commander Yoni Netanyahu was killed. The whole operation lasted less than an hour. Of the 106 hostages, 102 made it safely to Israel. Ugandan soldiers murdered one hostage: Dora Bloch who was in a Ugandan hospital.