OPERATION THUNDERBOLT: 39 years ago today Israeli commandos traveled 2,000 miles in four C-130s with two Boeing 707s following and rescued 102 highjacked Air France passengers and crew from their Palestinian and Ugandan captors at Entebbe Airport. The Air France flight had originated in Tel Aviv with 248 passengers and was bound for Paris. Upon arrival at Entebbe, the Palestinians released those without Israeli passports and held the remainder for the release of Palestinian and allied terroristss held by Israel and other countries.
The Israeli strike team killed all of the highjackers and as many as 50 of the Ugandan soldiers guarding the terminal and destroyed Ugandan Air Force MiGs nearby. Three hostages died in the rescue attempt, caught in crossfire in the terminal. One hostage, Dora Bloch, had already been transported to a hospital and was left behind, fate unknown. The only Israeli military casualty was the assault team commander Yonatan Netanyahu, the current Israeli PM’s older brother, believed killed by Ugandan soldiers firing from the airport’s control tower.