Some 40 years after Israeli commandos rescued over 100 hostages at Entebbe airport, the son of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin told an Israeli news outlet that his dream is to meet with the families of the hijacking victims and to apologize before them.
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Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Jafar Amin, one of Idi Amin's dozens of children, told the newspaper that he believed he had the courage to come to Israel, describing it as the ultimate pilgrimage. He said that an apology can come from a proud man like him or from a soldier. Declaring himself a son of Idi Amin, he said he was taking ownership of his name.
Amin, 49, has become the official spokesman of the Amin family, according to Yedioth, and is now seeking a historic visit to Israel in which he would personally apologize to the families of the five victims of the rescue mission, known as Operation Entebbe: Yoni Netanyahu, Dora Bloch, Ida Borochovitch, Pasco Cohen and Jean-Jacques Maimoni.
According to Yedioth, Amin recently met with the Israeli ambassador to Kenya, Yahel Vilan, who is also responsible for Israel's diplomatic affairs in Uganda, to ask him for a personal meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the death of his brother Yoni, the unit commander of the rescue mission.
The hostage crisis had begun on June 27, 1976, when two Palestinian terrorists and two German terrorists hijacked an Air France plane with 248 passengers and demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The plane, which had departed from Tel Aviv, was diverted to Athens and Benghazi, Libya, before Idi Amin allowed the plane to land in Entebbe and personally welcomed the hijackers. All the non-Jewish and non-Israeli passengers were subsequently released, leaving 94 mainly Israeli passengers and 12 crew members.
The IDF carried out the operation, codenamed Operation Thunderbolt, on July 4, during which three passengers and Netanyahu was killed. Dora Bloch, who had been taken to a Kampala hospital after choking on a chicken bone, was later murdered by Ugandan army officers in revenge. The operation was renamed Operation Jonathan in honor of Netanyahu's memory and contribution to the raid's success.
Idi Amin was ousted from power in 1979 and died in exile in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2003.