The Raid on Entebbe

 

The Raid on Entebbe
 
Operation Thunderbolt, the raid on Entebbe was a hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976.  A week earlier, on June 27, an Air France plane with 300 passengers was hijacked by Arab and German terrorists and flown to Entebbe, near Kampala, the capital of Uganda. Shortly after landing, all non-Jewish passengers were released.

The IDF acted on intelligence provided by the Israeli agency for intelligence, the Mossad. In the wake of the hijacking by members of the militant organizations Revolutionary Cells and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, along with the hijackers' threats to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met, the rescue operation was planned.  These plans included preparation for armed resistance from Ugandan military troops.

The operation took place under cover of darkness, as Israeli transport planes carried 100 IDF commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation.  The operation, which took a week of planning, was carried out in 90 minutes and 103 hostages were rescued.  Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, Lt Col Jonathan "Yoni" Netanyahu, was killed.  All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and 11 Russian-built MiG fighters of Uganda's air force were destroyed. A fourth hostage, an ill 75-year-old woman, was later murdered by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital.

The successful rescue, named Operation Thunderbolt, was renamed as Operation Jonathan in memory of the unit's leader, Jonathan Netanyahu. He was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, currently the Prime Minister of Israel.