OPERATION THUNDERBOLT : FLIGHT 139 AND THE RAID ON ENTEBBE AIRPORT, THE MOST AUDACIOUS HOSTAGE RESCUE MISSION IN HISTORY
by Saul David
July 3, 2016, will be the 40th anniversary of the raid on Entebbe. It has been described as the greatest, most successful counteroffensive of the War on Terror. This onslaught encouraged other countries (primarily Western) to create special counter-terrorist entities. Its legacy has continued.
On June 27, 1976, Air France flight 139, which was supposed to fly from Tel Aviv to Paris, was hijacked by several Arab and German terrorists. The plane was redirected, instead, to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. There were 253 passengers and crew on board and in order for them to be relinquished, the terrorists wanted Israel, Kenya, and Europe to release "freedom fighters" (the terrorists' verbiage) from their jails. Idi Amin (a monster of a ruler in Uganda) was in cahoots with the terrorists, so he was no help.
Israel was only given a couple of days to decide what to do. Yitzhak Rabin (prime minister) was in favor of negotiating, but Shimon Peres (defense minister) was not. They certainly did not want to capitulate to the terrorists nor attempt to rescue hostages, (most of whom were Israelis), because it might end in disaster. It was discussed and argued until with not that much time left, a plan was executed: "Operation Thunderbolt" was born.
Apparently there haven't been too many or any books written on what really happened according to author Saul David. He wanted the perspective of everybody involved and was able to interview quite a good number of them.The book reads like a thriller because of the way he set it up. You get the real time and the location, which is placed above the narrative. Events unfold before your eyes. You learn about the horrible conditions of the Old Terminal in Entebbe where the hostages were kept, the soldiers who were chosen to lead and fight, the governments involved, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and so much more.
Operation Thunderbolt is spectacular storytelling that will keep you riveted.
Very highly recommended.