Operation Thunderbolt: Flight 139 and the Most Audacious Hostage Rescue Mission in History

A talk by Professor Saul David

Tuesday 2 February 2016, MA030, City Campus, 1-2pm. No ticket required.  Open to the public.

On 3 July 1976 Israeli Special Forces carried out a daring raid to free more than a hundred, French, Israeli and US hostages held by German and Palestinian terrorists at Entebbe Airport, Uganda.

Codenamed Thunderbolt, the operation carried huge risks.  The flight was a challenge: 2,000 miles with total radio silence over hostile territory to land in darkness at Entebbe Airport in Idi Amin's Uganda.

On the ground, the Israeli commandos had just three minutes to carry out their mission.  They had to evade a cordon of élite Ugandan paratroopers, storm the terminal and free more than a hundred hostages.  So much could have gone wrong. The legacy of this mission is still felt today in the way Western governments respond to terrorist blackmail.

In his talk, Professor Saul David will give the first comprehensive account of Operation Thunderbolt using classified documents from archives in four countries and interviews with key participants, including Israeli soldiers and politicians, hostages, a member of the Kenyan government and a former terrorist.

About the author

Saul David is a historian and broadcaster and is currently Professor of Military History at the University of Buckingham. His many critically-acclaimed books include Zulu, Victoria's Wars and 100 Days to Victory.  

 *The author will be signing copies of his book after the talk

  A FoSS-sponsored event