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Operation Entebbe (Or) Operation ThunderBolt - Israel Heroics
On May 2nd 2011, US navy SEALS have shown their bravery by killing the Osama Bin Laden who is hiding in a building very near to the Pakistani Defence Academy, leaving a single clue to the Pakistani govt about their mission until it is done successfully. This operation is worth a praise for the US army. However, I consider this is not the best operation when compared to the rescue operation carried out by Israeli commandos around 35 years back, in 1976. The commando's have rescued the Israeli hostages from a air craft that was hijacked.
On June 27 1976, An Air France plane is started from Israel's Tel Aviv to the Paris in the morning. Then 4 palestinians had hijacked the plane and taken it to the Enbette airport which is nearer to the Kampala, the capital of Uganda. 4 more accompanied the hijackers in the air port reaching their total strength to 8 people. It was a known secret to the world that the hijacking team was backed by the president of Uganda, Idi Amin.
The total number of passengers on the plane were 248. The hijackers separated them as Jews and non Jews, left the non Jews and sent them in another place. However, the captain of the plane says that he is responsible for all the passengers on the plane and insists to stay with the hostages. many of the crew members would also stay with the captain. The total hostages are 105 in number and then the hijackers sent the ultimatum to the Israeli government. They demand for the release of 40 prisoners in the Israeli Jails and 13 more who were imprisoned in Kenya, Germany and Switzerland. In case, the demand is not fulfilled, the hijackers would take the life of every hostage.
Israel has tried to solve the problem in every diplomatic way possible. Israeli government approached the Idi Amin through the president of Egypt, Anwar Sadath. America also tried to resolve the issue. The dead line was June 4, but the demands of the hijackers were unchanged.
On July 3rd 1976, Israel Cabinet has given permission to Israel Defense Force (IDF) for the rescue operation. The Israel Intelligence has already gained the blue prints of the Entebbe Airport from the enterprise that constructed the Entebbe airport. And collected the information about the hijackers from the other passengers who were released in the air port. Israel was able to get the information on the hijackers weaponry also from a passenger who had undergone a military training. The commando team has done their Assault in the air port model and got ready for the operation which is named as Operation ThunderBolt (Later It was referred as Operation Entebbe).
The operation has begin with four big C-140 air crafts with Commando team, a troop of military soldiers and the necessary equipment. These planes were followed by two boeing air planes. One was with medical team. another was to guard the operation by circling around the air port.
The team had flew over Egypt,Nairobi,Somalia and Ethiopia and reached the Entebbe airport at 11:00 PM in the night.
The Cargo bay was opened just after the flight had landed, and a black Mercidad Benz (similar to the one that Idi Amin uses) and two other vehicles were got down from the flight and ran towards the terminal. As the Idi Amin was in the foreign trip, the Israil thought that the security guards would consider them as Idi Amin. But, Idi Amin had changed changed his car and was using white one instead of black. So, the security guards stopped the car. The commando's had to fire at the guards to move further. They moved fast towards the terminal thinking that the hijackers would have got alerted by the shooting noise.
The commando's went in and started firing at the hijackers. As it was an unexpected, the hijackers were relaxed and the commando's have used the opportunity. Counter attack was done by the hijackers and 3 hostages had died. The commando's were able to kill all the hijackers.
All the hostages were boarded on to another plane and was ready to take off. The troop has destroyed the MIG planes and blasted the run way just after their take off to ensure no enemy could follow them. The leader of the commando troop Col. Jonathan Nethanyahu had died in the firing by the Uganda military and the Commando's air craft flew away with his body. The air port was destroyed with the bomb attacks and the commando team reached Tel Aviv with the hostages safely.
One woman was joined in the local hospital due to the health conditions and hence could not leave Uganda though the operation was completed. Idi Amin had ordered his police to kill her and was shot dead.