From The BBC: Age Of Terror - Terror International

7:10pm Thursday, August 20 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

Terror International, the first episode of this four-part documentary series, recounts the events around a 1976 Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris.

Minutes after take-off, four heavily armed terrorists took control of the plane. Two were Palestinian, two were German Marxist revolutionaries in a deadly ideological alliance. They represented the internationalisation of terror. They redirected the plane to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where it was refuelled before flying on to Idi Amin’s Uganda. At Entebbe airport the hostages were held by the four terrorists and more Palestinians, supported by the Ugandan army.

The terrorists demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. Non-Israeli hostages were released and the terrorists set a deadline: “accept our demands or we start to kill the remaining hostages.” The Israeli government had to decide between a negotiated settlement and a military intervention. The explicit threat to the hostages forced their choice. They sent in a commando team on an audacious and risky raid. The daring assault succeeded brilliantly; the terrorists were killed, as were a large number of Ugandan troops. Three hostages and just one Israeli soldier died. One hundred hostages were returned to Israel unscathed.

This was the perfect storm of 70’s terror. After Entebbe, the international terror network was crippled and Israel set the model of Western responses to terror, no capitulation to demands and the real prospect of a military response. It is a model which is still being applied every day in the West Bank and Gaza.

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