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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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July 4, Day of Operation Entebbe, Israel Upgrades Uganda Airport

July 4 is not only US Independence Day. It also is the anniversary of Operation Entebbe. An Israeli firm this week won a contract to return to Entebbe, ironically to upgrade its systems and security.

A C-130 Hercules in front of the old terminal in Uganda's airport, where Israel carried out Operation Entebbe on the Fourth of July, 37 years ago

A C-130 Hercules in front of the old terminal in Uganda's airport, where Israel carried out Operation Entebbe on the Fourth of July, 37 years ago
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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An Israeli firm won a contract this week to upgrade systems at Uganda’s Entebbe airport, where a daring IDF mission on July 4, 1976, rescued 105 hostages from a hijacked airplane

Trilogical Technologies won the bid to integrate and implement systems that cover manpower, vehicle and equipment serving the airport’s ground services,  according to Israel Defense.

It said Trilogical’s software and hardware products will be integrated for management of existing resources  and carrying out missions in its airspace. Its computer system will be installed for the first time in Entebbe’s luggage, passenger and maintenance departments.

Ironically, the control systems will be installed “for control and warning in the event of operational or security irregularities” according to the report.

“There is a great deal of symbolism in the date when we are beginning the project,” said Trilogical CEO Erez Lorber.

The ability of the Israeli commandos to land at the airport without being detected was the key to its success, which was marred by the death of the commander of Operation Entebbe, Col. Yoni Netanyahu, brother of the prime minister.

One of the officers on the mission, a neighbor of mine, recently told me that almost no one in the hand-picked units believed that they would take off for the rescue operation because the scheme was “beyond imagination.”

The hostage crisis began on June 27 when Arab terrorists, helped by a German revolutionary cell, hijacked an Air France plane en route from Tel Aviv to Paris via Athens and demanded the release of prisoners in Israel in return for releasing the Israeli hostages.

After a week of planning, Operation Entebbe began on July and lasted approximately one hour. Besides the death of Netanyahu, five commandos suffered injuries and three hostages were killed.

The commandos landed in the dark of night, killed 45 Ugandan soldiers and destroyed 30 Soviet-built MiGs to prevent them from being used against the Israeli force.

Israeli firms had helped build the Entebbe airport, and their possession of blueprints of the facility was crucial towards the operation’s success.

When the Israeli planes, a cargo plane rolled out a black Mercedes that was a duplicate of Uganda President Idi Amin’s vehicle.

The element of surprise enabled the commandos to eliminate opposition forces and rescue the hostages, except for two who were killed by IDF fire and a third who was caught in crossfire.

The raid has been attributed to putting a stop to the wave of international terrorist hijackings, but United Nations Secretary General at that time, Kurt Waldheim, condemned Israel for “a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state.”

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About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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10 Responses to “July 4, Day of Operation Entebbe, Israel Upgrades Uganda Airport”

  1. Anonymous says:

    that was a very remarkable event in history. the hijackers, idi amin and his soldiers were caught flat footed and the world stand in awe…because of the Israelites great mind….

  2. Anonymous says:

    that was a very remarkable event in history. the hijackers, idi amin and his soldiers were caught flat footed and the world stand in awe…because of the Israelites great mind….

  3. Anonymous says:

    that was a very remarkable event in history. the hijackers, idi amin and his soldiers were caught flat footed and the world stand in awe…because of the Israelites great mind….

  4. I sure remember it – the owner of the Mercedes was pissed – it had been white before the IDF borrowed it and they didn't repaint it afterward.

  5. And I would add GREAT COURAGE

  6. And I would add GREAT COURAGE

  7. Evan Lowenthal says:

    Waldheim was unreconstructed Nazi.

  8. Lloyd Bergner says:

    Sadly, the mission commander, a Sayert Matkal officer, was killed..His name was Lt.Col. Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu. He was the only casualty and is of Blessed Memory in the Pantheon of Israeli Heroes.

  9. Poor Dora Bloch was killed by Idi Amin's soldiers. She was not a soldier but a human being non the less.

  10. Yechiel Baum says:

    Will they return Doa Bloch and put her statue/monument for all to remember?

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