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Thursday, May 09, 2013

When Israel didn't negotiate with terrorists

The IDF reminds us that 41 years ago today, a Sabena jetliner was taken over by terrorists and landed on the tarmac at what was then Lod Airport. Three days later, Sayeret Matkal, the most elite of our army units, freed the hostage passengers. The operation was commanded by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak and one of the soldiers who was wounded was the man shaking hands with then-President Zalman Shazar: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In those days, Israel did not negotiate with terrorists.
The goal of the operation was to get the passengers safely off the plane before the terrorists could kill them. During the night, an undercover IDF squad secretly slashed the plane’s tires and disconnected its hydraulic equipment.
Next, Defense Minister Dayan used a bogus group of prisoners to trick the terrorists into believing the negotiated prisoner exchange was taking place. The ‘prisoners’ boarded a separate plane in the distance, supposedly headed for Cairo.
The terrorists attempted to start the plane’s engines, which had, unbeknownst to them, been disabled. Dayan told them that he was sending over a group of technicians to fix the plane.
A team of 16 elite commandos from the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal counter-terrorism unit, disguised as flight technicians, hit the tarmac. They were dressed in white coverall uniforms and arrived in luggage vehicles. The squad was commanded by Ehud Barak, who, along with team-member Benjamin Netanyahu, would go on to become a prime minister of Israel.

Read the whole thing.  Unfortunately, today things would be done a lot differently.

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