Operation Thunderbolt was a rescue mission carried out by commandos of 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 248 passengers was hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and flown to Entebbe the capital of Uganda. The hijackers separated the Israelis and Jews from the larger group and forced them into another room. More than 100 Israeli and Jewish passengers, along with the non-Jewish pilot remained as hostages and were threatened with death.
The IDF acted on intelligence provided by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The hijackers threatened to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met. This threat led to the planning of the rescue operation. These plans included preparation for armed resistance from Ugandan military troops.
The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles (4,000 km) to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. All but three of the hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed.
Yoni’s Last Battle: The Rescue at Entebbe, 1976 is a gripping account of the operation. In extraordinary detail, Dr. Iddo Netanyahu –Yoni’s youngest brother, and also brother to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu – reconstructs events to portray a minute-to-minute chronicle of one of the earliest and most spectacular victories in the modern war against terrorism.
Based on interviews with almost every member of the operation, Yoni’s Last Battle is a fascinating and first-hand account of the intense 48-hour period of planning and preparation of the mission, and its near-perfect execution in extremely difficult circumstances. Yoni’s Last Battle is also an intriguing portrayal of Yoni himself, who at the age of 30, was the brilliant and heroic commander of a courageous and daring mission.
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