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Operation Entebbe

The raid on Entebbe, actually called Operation Thunderball, and afterwards renamed Operation Jonathan after the raid commander, Col. Jonathan Netanyahu, who died in it, occurred on the night of July 3 and early morning of July 4, 1976.

Three Hercules transport aircraft landed at the Entebbe, Uganda airport to free hostages taken on Air France Flight 193 in an aircraft hijacking, and now held in the Old Terminal of the airport. The terrorists had chosen to keep only Jewish prisoners, leaving the State of Israel as the only country with stakes in the issue. The hijackers were 8 PLO and 2 Baader-Meinhof Gang members. They were apparently supported by the Ugandan regime of pro-Palestine Idi Amin.

Over a hundred IDF troops including the elite Sayeret team arrived to conduct the assault; some Mossad troops might have taken part in the assault as well. Late at night, the assault began.

A black Mercedes with accompanying jeeps were brought along to avoid suspicion while the Israeli troops drove from the landed plane to the terminal building: this would look like a company of Idi Amin or another high official with escort.

The raid lasted only 100 seconds and six terrorists were killed. One hostage was killed when he leaped at the Israeli forces. Of the 83 hostages, three died. It is speculated that Israel captured some of the terrorists but there is no confirmation of that. Ugandan forces also opened fire on Israeli troops killing Col. Netanyahu. 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed and all Ugandan fighter planes at the airport were destroyed.

There was one other fatality: Dora Bloch, a 75-year-old hostage, was recovering from a choking episode in a Kampala hospital when the Israelis struck; Idi Amin is presumed to have taken revenge after the raid and had her killed.

The operation diary can be found at " class="external">

The incident was the subject of a film released in 1976 - the docudrama Victory at Entebbe.