Sayeret Matkal

aka “The Unit,” General Staff Reconnaissance Unit 269

The Israel Defense Force's most elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal has carried out many counter-terrorist operations.

Founded in 1957, Sayeret Matkal is known for several spectacular hostage rescues. In 1972, Sayeret Matkal freed hostages on a Sabena airliner at Tel Aviv Airport. Commandos disguised as maintenance personnel took control of the airliner from members of Black September during Operation Isotope.

In a 1976 mission, Sayeret Matkal worked with other Israeli Defense Force units to free hostages from an Air France plane that had been hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and flown to Entebbe, Uganda. The unit used a black Mercedes that was a perfect copy of Ugandan leader Idi Amin's personal car to fool local troops. Rescue force leader Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was killed as he brought the hostages ...

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