The days between June 27th and July 4th, 1976 were some of the most nerve-wracking in Israel, France and Entebbe, Uganda. A group of Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked an Air France airplane travelling from Tel-Aviv to Paris, via Athens. 248 passengers and 12 Air France crew members were all held against their will in the scorching heat of Uganda as the terrorists demanded the release of prisoners held in Israel. The perpetrators threatened the lives of their hostages, until Israeli commandos pulled off the most daring hostage rescue ever recorded in history.
After taking off from Tel Aviv, Israel, Air France Flight 139 stopped over in Athens to pick up more passengers before heading to Paris. Four terrorists boarded the plane with guns and grenades, managing to board undetected due to a security strike in Athens. Only minutes after take-off, the terrorists jumped into action, storming the cockpit and ordering the pilot to redirect the plane to Benghazi, Libya. After refueling, the plane was directed to Entebbe, Uganda.
Confusion In Paris
Family members and friends in Paris became anxious when there was no report on Flight 139 and its unusual delay. It would take hours before the realization of a hijacking was to make its way to Paris, and then to Jerusalem. Information about the hijacking and its perpetrators soon became apparent when the hijackers began to make their demands.