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Aircraft Hijacking: The Mogadishu Rescue

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 49 Issue: 5 Dated: June 2001 Pages: 97-101
Eitan Meyr
Date Published
5 pages
This article discusses the Mogadishu rescue of a hijacked airliner in 1977 that set the pattern for other successful hostage-rescue operations around the world.
The Mogadishu raid was the first major international deployment of a police counter-terrorist unit. As a result, international cooperation is viewed as one of the most vital elements, enabling the successful mounting of a rescue operation on foreign soil. International and bilateral agreements stipulating the principles of mutual assistance in similar incidents should be drafted and signed by all countries involved in the fight against terrorism. Tactical cross-training should also be encouraged, enabling easier and more efficient handling of rescue operations. Special tactical training, compatible with various terrorist scenarios, is one of the most important elements in the preparation of a counter terrorist unit for high-risk rescue operations. Police units tasked with counter-terrorist and hostage-rescue missions should adopt comprehensive and thorough training programs. In aircraft storming operations, the light, compact and easier to handle handgun becomes the primary weapon of choice, while the submachine gun is used as the backup for the worst case scenario. The ability to stun and immobilize hijackers at the first crucial moments of an attack is one of the most decisive elements that might constitute the difference between a successful or a failed rescue operation. Designed to produce a blinding flash combined with a deafening sound, stun grenades have become a standard piece of equipment, used by many units to disorient and paralyze hijackers in the initial stages of a rescue. Police units capable of mounting similar operations of the Mogadishu rescue are one of the most important elements in the fight against aerial terrorism; in many cases they are the last-ditch defense.