45 years ago, a heroic rescue operation saved the lives of nearly 100 hostages. The rescue, known as Operation Isotope, was carried out by an Israeli commando team led by one future Israeli leader and including another, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The above video is a trailer for a recent documentary on the daring operation. And below, The Times of Israel's Judah Ari Gross tells the story of Sabena Flight 571:
Shortly into the flight from Vienna, Ahmed Awad, Abed al-Aziz Atrash, Theresa Khalsa and Rima Tannous rushed the cockpit of Sabena flight 571 armed with explosives and pistols.
The four members of the Black September terrorist group, named for the deaths and expulsions of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan in September 1970, demanded the release of 315 terrorists in exchange for the 97 passengers and crew.
The terrorists, as they had done in the past and would do in future plane hijackings, separated the Jewish and Israeli passengers from the non-Jews.
Khalsa, who was 18 years old at the time of the hijacking, says in an interview in the film, “I wanted to blow up the plane. That’s the truth.”
Just a few months later, at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, other members of the Black September organization would murder 11 Israeli athletes.
With the plane sitting on the runway in Israel, defense minister Moshe Dayan began conducting negotiations with the terrorists while Barak’s Sayeret Matkal soldiers began preparing a plan.
Also on the scene that day was the head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Ariel Sharon.
All told, four of the last five Israeli prime ministers — Netanyahu, Sharon, Barak, Peres — played some role in the operation...