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Israel PM Netanyahu in Uganda

Netanyahu in Uganda. PHOTO VIA UG MEDIA CENTRE
Netanyahu’s plane lands in Uganda Monday (above) and plane that carried the hostages 40 years ago (below). PHOTOS UG MEDIA CENTRE

Israel troops

 

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Uganda, his first trip as premier to sub-Saharan Africa.

He has just flown in Monday, exactly 40 years after Israel commandos rescued hostages in the famous Operation Thunderbolt at Entebbe. He was received by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and given a 21 gun-salute.

It will mark a rare visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister to sub-Saharan African nations and will include a summit on security and economic cooperation involving several countries – Zambia, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The afternoon had bi-lateral talks and a regional summit on security, followed by a dinner before Netanyahu heads to Kenya.

Speaking in Entebbe, close to the site of the 1976 airport raid in which over 100 hostages were released, Netanyahu said the visit was “deeply moving” and symbolised the changing relationship between Israel and Africa.

“Exactly 40 years ago Israeli soldiers carried out the historic mission in Entebbe,” Netanyahu said.

“Forty years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists, today we landed in broad daylight to be welcomed by a president who fights terrorism.”

Netanyahu trip

 

About 100 Israeli and Jewish hostages were freed in the raid but 20 Ugandan soldiers and seven hijackers were killed, along with several Ugandan civilians.

Yonatan Netanyahu was the lone casualty among the Israeli assault team.

Netanyahu has called the rescue operation “a very dramatic national experience” and “for me, obviously, one of great personal consequence”.

He has been to Uganda before, in 2009, before he became PM.

Netanyahu 2009 in Uganda

Beyond diplomacy and trade, the trip will have deep personal meaning for Netanyahu.

His brother Yonatan was killed in July 1976 as he led a commando raid in Entebbe, Uganda, to free passengers aboard an Air France plane hijacked by two Palestinians and two Germans.

About 100 Israeli and Jewish hostages were freed in the raid but 20 Ugandan soldiers and seven hijackers were killed, along with several Ugandan civilians.

Yonatan Netanyahu was the lone casualty among the Israeli assault team.

eNTEBBE ROUTE

 

PHOTO GALLERY

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*Additional reporting AFP (more go to page 2)

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