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Agencia AJN. – On July 4, 1976, an elite of the Israel Defense Forces carried out an operation that allowed the release of Israeli hostages and Jews from other countries who had been held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, which he governs. Idi Amin.

A week earlier, on June 27, an Air France plane took off from Tel Aviv with 248 passengers and 12 crew members on board from Athens bound for Paris. Minutes later, he was kidnapped by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two members of the German revolutionary cells, and he was transferred to Benghazi, Libya, where he stayed for seven hours, where he was refueled and one of the hostages was released.

On June 28, the plane landed in Entebbe, where the hijackers were joined by four other terrorists backed by Ugandan military forces who supported the hijackers’ allegations.

They divided the hostages into two large groups: the first consisted of Jews, Israelis and non-Israelis, and the other consisted of the rest of the passengers and crew of the plane, and held them in the transit room at the airport.

The kidnappers demanded the release of forty Palestinians detained in Israel and thirteen other detainees in Kenya, France, Switzerland and West Germany, saying that if their demands were not met, they would start killing the hostages on the first of next July.

And before the deadline expired, they decided to release the non-Jewish hostages, on another Air France plane that arrived in Entebbe specifically for this purpose. The commander of the hijacked flight, Michael Backus, refused to leave the rest of the hostages, because according to international law they are under his responsibility. He was accompanied in this position by the staff.

After the release of the non-Jewish hostages, 105 people, 85 Jews and 20 non-Jews, including the crew and other passengers, remained in the hands of the terrorists.

From June 28 to 30, unsuccessful attempts were made to get Idi Amin to release the hostages. On July 1, before the deadline set by the terrorists expired, the Israeli government decided to negotiate with the kidnappers on the condition that the deadline to start releasing the hostages be extended until July 4, which the terrorists agreed to.
Soon after learning the final destination of the hijacked Air France plane, Israeli intelligence began studying a plan to free the hostages, for which they formed an elite group of one hundred members.

On the other hand, the Israeli company that built Entebbe Airport in the 1960s was consulted to find out the layout of the site. On the other hand, interviews were conducted with the released hostages, among whom was a Jewish passenger by mistake. This information provided information on the number of kidnappers and the weapons in their possession.

On July 3, the Israeli Cabinet, whose Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, approved the rescue plan, an operation called Thunderball, which, according to what was planned, could last no more than 55 minutes.

Operation Thunderball involved not only the flight of four Hercules C130 aircraft intended to transport military personnel and items they were to use, but also the refueling of these aircraft, eliminating the possibility that the Ugandan Air Force Mic 17 battalion would interfere in the operation. Land the two C130 Hercules to take control of the local forces guarding the outside of the airport, get into the transit room, reduce the terrorists, take the hostages to the planes and let them take off.

The commander in chief of Operation Thunderball on the ground was Brigadier General Shomron. The operations commander, General Yonatel Adam, was on board a Boeing 707 that flew over Entebbe during the ground operation, which was commanded by Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu and consisted of 35 men specialized in this type of operation.

At 11 p.m. in Israel, Yonatan Netanyahu and his men entered the area of ​​the terminal building, disabled the fleet of MIC aircraft, took over the control tower and headed to the transit room where, after an exchange of fire, the terrorists were eliminated, who killed two. hostages and wounded eleven others, one of whom died shortly after. It also wounded five members of the Israeli forces, one of whom was Lieutenant-Colonel Netanyahu, who was killed on his return. This process took 53 minutes.

Meanwhile, the other transported forces wiped out the Ugandan forces guarding the airport, a military operation that ended at 0:30 AM.

Lieutenant-Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu, posthumously promoted to colonel, was the son of Pension Netahyahu, one of the men who made up Menachem Begwen’s intimate group in the years before Hatzmut’s Day and the older brother of the man of his age. Later it will be the first Minister of State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The planes landed at Kenya’s Narobi airport, where the wounded were treated by Israeli doctors, the most dangerous of which was transporting them to a local hospital. The rest of the rescued people were taken to Israel, where they were received by the country’s highest authorities.

Idi Amin’s reaction was to order the killing of a Jewish hostage in a Ugandan hospital and several hundred Kenyans living in Uganda. For its part, Air France punished Commander Bacchus for not refusing to release him and not being allowed to fly planes for a while.

Uganda raised the case to the Security Council after the release of the hostages. However, this international body did not take any action, but during the discussion Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog (who was appointed President of the State of Israel in 1983): We brought a simple message to the Council: We are proud of it. What we did because we showed the world that for a small country, in the conditions of Israel, with which the members of this Council are now familiar, human dignity, human life and freedom are the highest values. We are proud not only of having saved the lives of more than a hundred innocent people – men, women and children – but also because of the importance of our work for the cause of human freedom.”

When the military operation that released the hostages in Entebbe became public, the media called it “Operation Entebbe” and with this name it was recorded in the modern history of the State of Israel.

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