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Gur Under Fire for Disclosing Details of Uganda Rescue Operation

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Members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee have complained to Premier Yitzhak Rabin over the disclosure of top secret details of the July 3. Uganda rescue operation by Chief of Staff Gen. Mordechai Gur. The committee members said that Gur, who held a press conference in Tel Aviv Thursday, made public facts that the MKs had received in strictest secrecy. Rabin reportedly told the committee members that he had not authorized any publicity and had no advance knowledge of the Gun press conference.

Defense Ministry sources said the Chief of Staff did not require permission from the Premier to hold a press conference. They said he got his approval “from whoever he should have gotten it,” meaning apparently, Defense Minister Shimon Peres.

NATURE OF DISCLOSURES

Gur made several disclosures about the rescue mission a week ago that had not been known previously. He said the Israeli rescue force included paratroopers, infantrymen, members of the crack Golani Brigade, communications and ordnance men. He said 33 doctors participated, either at Entebbe airport or at other stations.

Gur also disclosed that the entire operation was rehearsed the night before it took place and that the rehearsal lasted two minutes longer than the actual rescue operation which was completed in 53 minutes. Four of the Air France hijackers, including the German man and woman were killed within 45 seconds of the Israeli landing and three other terrorists were killed a few seconds later.

Finally, Gur said that the decision to land at Nairobi, Kenya before returning to Israel was made at the last minute in order to hospitalize the wounded. “We forced ourselves on the Kenyans,” he said. The fact that the three Israeli military transports landed briefly in Nairobi has given rise to reports that the Kenyan government cooperated with Israel to a certain extent in carrying out the rescue. This has been denied by official sources in both Kenya and Israel.

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