Preparations are underway in Uganda ahead of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s state visit to Uganda this afternoon.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit marks 40 years since the July 4, 1976 Israel raid on Entebbe Airport where his brother died.
On July 4, 1976 a group of Israeli commandos raided the Entebbe airport on a mission to rescue 248 passenger/hostages aboard Air France that had been hijacked a week earlier by Islamist group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Then President Idi Amin’s government, which sympathised with the Palestinian cause had welcomed the hijackers.
The hijackers had separated Israeli hostages from the rest of the group, and moved them to a deserted building at the airport.
Netanyahu, on the sidelines of the 40th anniversary celebrations, will hold a meeting with invited regional heads of state, to discuss strategies on combating global terrorism.
The regional leaders expected at the event include; Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Tanzania’s John Magufuli, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Malawi’s Peter Mutharika.
According to the official programme, Netanyahu and wife Sara will land at Entebbe International Airport at 1pm tomorrowto a 19-gun salute and after the protocol formalities, hold a brief meeting with President Museveni and participate in the anniversary events.
Meanwhile, Daily Monitor, quotes first deputy premier Moses Ali questioning the logic of Ugandans participating in the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Israeli commandos’ raid on Entebbe International Airport to free Israeli hostages in 1976.
Gen Ali who was a Finance minister at the time of the July 4, 1976 Operation Thunderbolt, says Ugandans should be mourning a dozen soldiers who were killed by Israelis during the raid.
“If you are siding with Israelis, then you can celebrate because it was their victory. [Otherwise] if you are not, then you should be mourning our dead ones,” he told the newspaper in an interview.
The Israelis during that attack, 40 years ago, destroyed 11 MiG fighters the Soviet Union had supplied to Uganda.