Sabena Flight 572

Sabena Flight 572

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 terrorist group Black September organization and landed at the Tel Aviv airport near Lod.

The attack was planned by Ali Hassan Salameh and carried out by a group of four terrorists led by Ali Taha.Cite news | title =In a ruined country | publisher = The Atlantic Monthly | url = ]

The kidnappers demanded the release of 315 convicted Palestinian terrorists [Cite news | title =Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response | publisher = AARP The Magazine | url = ] which were imprisoned in Israel, and threatened to blow up the airplane with its passengers. The security minister, Moshe Dayan, conducted negotiations with the terrorists while also making preparations for a rescue operation, code-named "Operation Isotope".

On May 9 1972 at 4:00 p.m. the rescue operation began: a team of 16 Sayeret Matkal commandos, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, approached the airplane. [Cite news | last =Sontag | first =Deborah | title =2 Who Share a Past Are Rivals for Israel's Future | publisher = The New York Times | pages =Section A, Page 3, Column 1 | year =1999 | url =| date =1999-04-20 ] The commandos were disguised as airplane technicians in white coveralls, and they were able to convince the terrorists that the aircraft needed servicing. The commandos stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane in ninety seconds, killing two of the hijackers and capturing the other two. One of the commandos was future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was accidentally shot by a member of the rescue team but survived. Three of the passengers were also wounded in the take over, with one female passenger eventually dying from her wounds.

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 operations.


External links

* [ Israeli Special Forces History]

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