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Sabena Flight 572 was a scheduled passenger flight from Viennamarker to Tel Avivmarker offered by the Belgian national airline, Sabena. On May 8 1972 a Boeing 707 passenger aircraft of the Belgian airline company Sabena that was in flight from Viennamarker to Tel Avivmarker was hijacked by four militants from the armed group Black September organization and landed at the Tel Aviv airportmarker near Lodmarker.

The attack was planned by Ali Hassan Salameh and carried out by a group of four terrorists led by Ali Taha.

The kidnappers demanded the release of 315 convicted Palestinian terrorists which were imprisoned in Israelmarker, and threatened to blow up the airplane with its passengers. The security minister Moshe Dayan, conducted negotiations with the terrorists while also making preparations for a rescue operation, code-named "Operation Isotope".

On May 9 1972 at 4:00 p.m. the rescue operation began: a team of 16 Sayeret Matkal commandos, led by future Israelimarker Prime Minister Ehud Barak, approached the airplane. The commandos were disguised as airplane technicians in white coveralls, and they were able to convince the terrorists that the aircraft needed servicing. The commandos stormed the aircraft and took control of the plane in ten minutes, killing two of the hijackers and capturing the other two. Three of the passengers were also wounded in the take over, with one female passenger eventually dying from her wounds.

The two female surviving terrorists were sentenced to life imprisonment, but were later freed as part of a prisoner exchange following the Lebanon War.

The hijacked airplane itself continued to be operated by Sabena for 5 more years before being purchased by Israel Aircraft Industries. They eventually sold the airplane to the Israeli Air Force, where it served as a spy plane for many years and participated in most of the Air Force's long range operations.


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