Israeli commandos stormed the Entebbe Airport on July 4, 1976 seeking to free the hostages of the hijacked Air France flight taken captive by PFLP terrorists, transported to Entebbe. Of the 248 passengers on board the flight over 100 Jewish and Israelis were taken hostage along with the non-Jewish pilot, Captain Bacos.
B’chasdei Hashem, 102 hostages were rescued in the operation by over 100 IDF commandos. The commander of the mission, Lt.-Colonel Yonatan Netanyahu HY”D, a brother of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was killed in the rescue mission. Five commandos were wounded as well.
Dora Bloch HY”D, a 75-year-old British Jewish immigrant had been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala and was killed by officers of the Ugandan army acting on orders given by Idi Amin. Some say that Amin actually carried out the murder. Mrs. Bloch was shot to death, an act of revenge for the commando raid. Her body was dumped in a vehicle and her remains were recovered near a sugar plantation 20 miles east of Kampala in 1979.
36 years later, Israel dedicated a new emergency room in that very hospital where she was murdered. The Mashav unit of the Israel Foreign Ministry built the emergency unit and before dedicating it, a ceremony was held in the airport where the rescue mission took place in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
According to the Foreign Ministry’s Avi Granot, who heads the Africa Desk, the memorial was meaningful as they remembered Yoni Netanyahu HY”D, the fallen Sayeret Matkal commander and Mrs. Bloch HY”D.
Granot expressed pride over the new trauma unit, pointing to the sign in memory of Bloch, who was traveling from Paris to her son’s wedding in Israel when the flight was taken over by terrorists in 1976.
Israeli officials report that only following the death of Amin in 2007 were documents uncovered in Britain that confirmed Bloch was murdered in the hospital as theorized earlier.
While the terminal in which the rescue operation took place is no longer in use, the Ugandans have preserved it with a sign commemorating the traumatic event.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)