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Sabena Flight 707

General Staff Reconnaissance Unit takes over the kidnappers of the "SABENA" plane

On Sabena airplane after the successful operation (in circle Ehud Barak)

On May 8, 1972 a passenger aircraft of the Belgian airline company Sabena Boeing 707 that was in flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv was hijacked by four terrorists from the Palestinian terroristic group Black September organization and landed at the Tel Aviv airport near Lod.

The combat soldiers of the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit successfully release the 100 passengers and crew members of the Belgian "SABENA" airplane. The plane was hijacked on its way from Belgium to Israel by four Fatah operatives.The hijackers demanded the release of hundreds of terrorists which were imprisoned in Israel.

The commando unit storming the plain

 During the negotiations with the hijackers by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit, led by Lieutenant Colonel Ehud Barak who later bacame Prime Minister, also participated in the operation were a young officer named Benjamin Netanyahu, who later also became the prime minister, and Danny Yatom, who became the head of the Mossad, took over the airplane.


Israeli channel 1 News

16 Sayeret Matkal commandos, led by Ehud Barak were disguised as airplane technicians in white coveralls, and were able to convince the terrorists that the aircraft needed servicing. While the plane was waiting on the tarmac, the Israelis managed to let down the tyres and empty the fuel tanks to prevent it taking off again. The commandos stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane in ten minutes.

Two male terrorists were killed and two female terrorists were captured. One passenger was killed and two passengers were injured. The 90 passengers and 10 crew had been held hostage for 23 hours before the operation took place.The two female surviving terrorists were sentenced to life imprisonment, but were later freed as part of a prisoner exchange following the Lebanon War.

The hijacked airplane itself continued to be operated by Sabena for 5 more years before being purchased by Israel Aircraft Industries. They eventually sold the airplane to the Israeli Air Force, where it served as a spy plane for many years and participated in most of the Air Force's long range.

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