On July 3, four Hercules planes carrying 200 IDF troops took off from Sharm El Sheikh, under Shomron's command. A raid force, headed by Netanyahu and made up mostly of special forces troops, headed for the terminal where the hostages were being held.
The troops disguised themselves as a Ugandan force and, using a black Mercedes and two jeeps, raided the terminal and evacuated the hostages by plane. Meanwhile, other forces destroyed the grounded enemy planes and seized control of another terminal to ensure the safety of the rescued passengers.
Rescue plane takes off. (Photo: Yaakov Saar GPO)
Transcript of audio fragments:
Field intelligence officer: "There are two casualties among the hostages, and a number of casualties among the terrorists. A number of Ugandan casualties. We have one injury, over."
Communications officer: Look, the numbers don't add up. We have to make sure no one is left behind, over."
Field intelligence officer: We've looked. I personally looked. Maybe they took someone elsewhere. The old terminal is empty, over."
Communications officer: "Did you check the plane?"
Field intelligence officer: "Not inside the plane. We're afraid it may be booby-trapped, we didn't go in. It looks dark and no noise has been heard from it."
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who commanded the mobile security force at the time, can also be heard on tape. "I'm in the area of the terminal. I have to know exactly where you are because we are advancing," a young Mofaz said.
"As of now, at first count we have 87 hostages, we've looked everywhere and we haven't found any more. Maybe in time we'll discover we have more," a voice can be heard saying.
Audio fragments from the end of the operation reveal a voice asking, "Did the first plane take off?"
"Affirmative. The plane carrying the hostages has taken off, over," he is answered.
Finally, a voice asks: "Can we take off?"
He is answered, "Cleared for take off."
"Did you say to take off?" the first voice asks again.
"Take off! Take off! Cleared for take off!" is the answer.