BONN (Jul. 6)
The West German government expressed “relief and satisfaction” yesterday over the success of Israel’s rescue operation in Uganda, observed that “the behavior of the authorities in Uganda needs clarification” and confirmed that it never had any intention of submitting to the hijackers’ demands for the release of pro-Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in West Germany.
An official statement released here referred to a joint statement issued by the Cabinet and leaders of the opposition parties late Saturday before there was any knowledge that Israel had mounted a rescue operation to free the Air France hijack victims held at Entebbe Airport in Uganda.
That statement said Germany was resolved not to release the six terrorists on the hijackers’ list because they were “not freedom fighters” as claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine but “criminals wanted on murder and other capital charges.” The Bonn authorities called on all nations concerned with law and order to “double their efforts to combat the dangers emanating from terrorism.”
Former Chancellor Willy Brandt sent a message to the Israeli Ambassador here yesterday declaring that the rescue operation “will go down in history as an important date in the struggle against international terrorism.” Opposition leader Helmut Kohi of the Christian Democratic Party, expressed gratification that “the hostages were freed from criminal hands.”
West German radio and television stations praised the operation as an important international event that could spell the end of surrender to terrorist blackmail. Most radio commentators said that the rescue, carried out over a distance of 2500 miles from Israel’s borders, showed that Israel’s military prowess was back to its 1967 level.