Misgav Am hostage crisis


Misgav Am hostage crisis
Misgav Am hostage crisis
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The attack site
Location Misgav Am, Israel
Date April 7–8, 1980
Attack type hostage-taking
Weapon(s) AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades
Death(s) 3 Israelis (+ 5 attackers)
Injured 11 Israeli soldiers[1]
Perpetrator(s) Five Palestinian militants. Arab Liberation Front claimed responsibility.[2][3]

The Misgav Am hostage crisis, which began during the night of April 7, 1980, was a raid carried out by a squad of five Palestinian militants, belonging to the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front militant organization[2][3], on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am in which the militants captured a group of toddlers and babies the children's dormitory of the kibbutz and held them as hostages. The event ended the next day with the takeover of the terrorist stronghold by Israeli special forces.

During the incident three Israelis were murdered – a two-year-old toddler, a 38-year-old kibbutz member and an Israeli soldier. Four other children, a kibbutz member and 11 Israeli soldiers were injured during the attack.[4]

Contents

Details of the attack

During the night of Monday, 7 April 1980, a squad of five Palestinian militants, belonging to the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front militant organization[2][3], armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, cut the border fence between Israel and Lebanon at around 01:00 am. The squad then crossed the border and managed to sneak with no problem into Kibbutz Misgav Am located in northern Israel. Upon reaching the center of the kibbutz undetected, the squad arrived at the children's dormitory of the kibbutz which continued many children aged 1½ to 3 supervised by some of their parents.[4][5]

At the entrance to the dormitory, the militant squad encountered the kibbutz secretary Sammy (Samuel) Shani, who happened to be at the site repairing the building's light fixtures. With only a screwdriver in his hand, he attempt to block the entrance to the dormitory, but was shot to death by the militants.[6]

Then the militants entered the building and killed the two-year-old Eyal Gluska[1] and then snatched two babies from their cribs (one of them was Sammy Shani's 2-months-old son). The militants ran up to the second floor together with the two babies they snatched. They barricaded themselves in the second floor, which at that time had five other toddlers and an adult named Meir Peretz whom was supervising the children. Kibbutz members managed to rescue several women and children from the building during the raid.

At about 02:30 am Israeli military forces surrounded the dormitory building and began to negotiate with the militants.

Takeover operation

In all, two rescue attempts were made. The first rescue attempt was carried out by a special force of the Golani Brigade failed. During that attempt the 19-year-old IDF medic and combat soldier Eldad Tsafrir[7] was killed by the militants. Tsafrir's body remained lying in the entrance to the building as no one was capable of evacuating it.

After the first rescue attempt, the militants began using loudspeakers to declare their ransom demands. They read the names of the prisoners they want released from Israeli prisons, they demanded a plane to fly them out of the country, and also asked that the Romanian ambassador be involved in the negotiations.

After lengthy negotiations, at around 10:00 pm of April 8th, a special force of Sayeret Matkal under the command of Major General Uzi Dayan, broke into the dormitory through several openings in the structure during an attack which lasted only two minutes. During this takeover the soldiers were able to eliminate all the militants and release all hostages. Six of the Sayeret Matkal soldiers were injured during the takeover. During the second rescue attempt, one of the militants shot Meir Peretz, which at this point was tied up and lying on the floor, at his legs, and then blew himself up using a hand grenade.[5]

Victims

Israeli civilian fatalities
Fatalities among Israeli military forces that responded to the attacks

The perpetrators

After the attack, in an announcement in Beirut, the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front, a radical guerrilla group within the PLO, claimed responsibility for the attack and stated the that action was carried out with the aim of releasing 50 Palestinians prisoners from Israeli prisons.[2][3]

Israeli retaliation

Following the attack Israel carried out Operation High Voltage (מבצע מתח גבוה) on April 17, 1980 in which seaborne Israeli troops raided and destroyed the Ras el-Sheikh Palestinian guerrilla bas in southern Lebanon (20 kilometers north of Tyre and about 40 kilometers north of the Israeli border). IDF spokesman stated that the base was used as a supply center and staging base for terrorist raids in Israel.[9] Six guerrillas were killed during the operation.[10][11][12]

See also

References

External links


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