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Misgav Am hostage crisis
Part of Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon
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The attack site
Location Misgav Am, Israel
Date April 7–8, 1980
Attack type
Weapons AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades
Deaths 3 Israelis (+ 5 attackers)
Non-fatal injuries
11 Israeli soldiers[1]
Perpetrators Five Palestinian militants. Arab Liberation Front claimed responsibility.[2][3]

The Misgav Am hostage crisis, which began during the night of April 7, 1980, was a raid carried out by a squad of five Palestinian militants, belonging to the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front militant organization,[2][3] on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Misgav Am in which the militants captured a group of toddlers and babies at the children's dormitory of the kibbutz and held them as hostages. The event ended the next day with the takeover of the terrorist stronghold by Israeli special forces. During the incident three Israelis were killed – a two-year-old toddler and a 38-year-old kibbutz member were murdered and one Israeli soldier fell in the rescue attempt. Four other children, a kibbutz member and 11 Israeli soldiers were injured during the attack.[4]

Details of the attack

During the night of Monday, April 7, 1980, a squad of five Palestinian militants, belonging to the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front militant organization,[2][3] armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, cut the border fence between Israel and Lebanon at around 01:00 am. The squad then crossed the border and managed to sneak with no problem into Kibbutz Misgav Am located in northern Israel. Upon reaching the center of the kibbutz undetected, the squad arrived at the children's dormitory of the kibbutz which contained many children aged 1½ to 3 supervised by some of their parents.[4][5]

At the entrance to the dormitory, the militant squad encountered the kibbutz secretary Sammy (Samuel) Shani, who happened to be at the site repairing the building's light fixtures. With only a screwdriver in his hand, he attempted to block the entrance to the dormitory, but was shot to death by the militants.[6]

Then the militants entered the building and killed the two-year-old Eyal Gluska[1] and then snatched two babies from their cribs (one of them was Sammy Shani's two-month-old son). The militants ran up to the second floor together with the two babies they snatched. They barricaded themselves in the second floor, which at that time had five other toddlers and an adult named Meir Peretz who was supervising the children. Kibbutz members managed to rescue several women and children from the building during the raid.

At about 02:30 am, Israeli military forces surrounded the dormitory building and began to negotiate with the militants.

Takeover operation

In all, two rescue attempts were made. The first rescue attempt was carried out by Sayeret Golani of the Golani Brigade, and failed. During that attempt the 19-year-old Israel Defense Forces (IDF) medic and combat soldier Eldad Tsafrir[7] was killed by the militants. Tsafrir's body remained lying in the entrance to the building as no one was capable of evacuating it.

After the first rescue attempt, the militants began using loudspeakers to declare their ransom demands. They read the names of the prisoners they wanted released from Israeli prisons, they demanded a plane to fly them out of the country, and also asked that the Romanian ambassador be involved in the negotiations.

After lengthy negotiations, at around 10:00 pm of April 8, a special force of Sayeret Matkal with a unit of specially trained dogs under the command of Major General Uzi Dayan, broke into the dormitory through several openings in the structure during an attack which lasted only two minutes. During this takeover the soldiers were able to eliminate all the militants and release all hostages. Six of the Sayeret Matkal soldiers were injured during the takeover. During the second rescue attempt, one of the militants shot Meir Peretz in his legs, while Peretz was tied up and lying on the floor, and then blew himself up using a hand grenade.[5]


Israeli civilian fatalities
Fatalities among Israeli military forces that responded to the attacks
  • Sgt. Eldad Tsafrir, 19, of Tel Aviv[7]

The perpetrators

In an announcement in Beirut after the attack, the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front, a radical guerrilla group within the PLO, claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that the action was carried out with the aim of releasing 50 Palestinians from Israeli prisons.[2][3]

Israeli retaliation

Following the attack Israel carried out Operation High Voltage (מבצע מתח גבוה) on April 17, 1980 in which seaborne Israeli commandos raided and destroyed the Ras el-Sheikh Palestinian guerrilla base in southern Lebanon (20 kilometers north of Tyre and about 40 kilometers north of the Israeli border). IDF spokesman stated that the base was used as a supply center and staging base for terrorist raids in Israel.[9] Six guerrillas were killed during the operation.[10][11][12]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Daily Reporter - Google News Archive Search".,411289. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Lodi News-Sentinel - Google News Archive Search".,4551519. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "The Miami News - Google News Archive Search".,2557502. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Edmonton Journal - Google News Archive Search".,3197361. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Beaver County Times - Google News Archive Search".,1354885. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "אזרחים חללי פעולות איבה - חיפוש לפי שם, אירוע או מקום מגורים - סמי שמואל שני ז"ל". Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "נזכור את כולם". Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  8. "אזרחים חללי פעולות איבה - חיפוש לפי שם, אירוע או מקום מגורים - איל גלוסקא ז"ל". Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  9. "The Calgary Herald - Google News Archive Search".,5134131. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  10. "Los Angeles Times: Archives". Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  11. Seaborne Israeli Commando Force Attacks Guerrilla Base In Lebanon
  12. "The Miami News - Google News Archive Search".,2550341. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 

External links

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