The day Israeli people in Uganda were freed – level 3
On June 27, 1976, a plane flew from Athens to Paris. There were 248 passengers on board. Many of them were Israeli. However, there were also four hijackers on board. They took control of the plane shortly after taking off. They forced the pilots to change direction to Libya and landed there to refuel.
From Libya, the plane headed for Uganda where a military dictator ruled. After landing in Uganda, the hijackers put the passengers into a big hall. The hijackers demanded the release of 53 pro-Palestinian fighters from prison.
After some days, the hijackers gradually released 148 non-Israeli hostages who were flown to Paris, but more than a hundred hostages remained in Uganda.
Israel tried to resolve the situation through diplomacy. However, this attempt failed and the decision was made to try to free the Israeli hostages by military action.
Israel sent 4 giant military planes to Uganda. The operation took place at night. At the start, the first plane landed at Uganda airport. 3 big cars drove out of the plane. 29 Israeli soldiers were crowded in these cars. They headed for the hall where the hostages were kept.
A gunfight started and the hijackers were killed. Meanwhile, the remaining 3 planes with 200 Israeli soldiers landed. The airport was protected by Ugandan soldiers, but they had no chance against so many Israeli soldiers. The hostages were released and boarded the planes which then flew in the direction of Israel. The entire operation lasted 53 minutes.
Difficult words: hijacker (a person who controls a plane by force), refuel (to fill with fuel before continuing), rule (to control a country), demand (to ask for), hostage (a person who is kept as a prisoner by an enemy), gunfight (a fight when people use guns), entire (whole).
What challenges did the Israeli soldiers face when carrying out this operation?
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