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Operation Entebbe   >   What Happened   >   Rescue



Four Israeli C-130 Hercules aircraft were loaded with the rescue force and their vehicles, just before dawn on Saturday July 3rd. Additionally, medical staff were loaded on board an Israeli Air Force Boeing 707.

The aircraft took-off at around 1pm, but did not receive the final authorization to go ahead from the Israeli cabinet until the C-130s were refueled in the air, just to the South of the Sinai peninsula.

The medical-support Boeing 707 headed for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. The C-130s headed directly for Entebbe without the assistance of ground control, and despite some stormy weather on the way, landed at 23:01, just one minute behind schedule,

As the C-130s touched down, the rear cargo door was already open to allow fast unloading. While the aircraft was still moving, some commandos rolled out and placed emergency beacons, just in case the runway lights were turned off.

A black Mercedes and Land Rover vehicles which were on board one of the C-130 Hercules were first unloaded. In an attempt to fool any Ugandan guards, these vehicles were driven towards the terminal building at high-speed, in a similar way to that done by Idi Amin. Two sentries who knew that Idi Amin had recently purchased a white Mercedes ordered the vehicles to stop, but they were immediately shot dead by the Israeli commandos who then entered the airport terminal building itself.

When Israeli commandos entered the terminal building they shouted "Get down! Get down!" in both English and Hebrew. One hostage, Jean-Jacques Maimoni, who stood up was shot by the commandos who mistook him for a terrorist. Additionally, two other hostages, Pasko Cohen and Ida Borochovitch, were killed in the brief firefight. All the hijackers were killed, and the Israeli commandos suffered no casualties during their assault.

The Israelis then used armoured personal carriers, carried on the other C-130 Hercules, to secure the airport perimeter and other airport buildings. All the Hercules aircraft were refueled from Entebbe's own fuel tanks, using pumping equipment that the commandos had brought with them.

Before taking-off, to prevent any pursuit, the commandos destroyed 11 Ugandan Army Air Force MiG-17 fighters which were at the airport. The hostages were then loaded and the C-130 Hercules departed for Israel via Nairobi, Kenya. It was during the loading that the Israeli commandos suffered their only casualty: Lieutenant Colonel Yoni Netanyahu was killed by Ugandan gunfire. Out of 103 hostages, 3 had been killed, and 10 were wounded.

45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and an unknown number wounded during the raid, as were 6 hijackers.

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