NICE, FRANCE – A French pilot hailed for bravery during a hijacking drama targeting Jews on an Air France flight in 1976 has died aged 95, his son told AFP on Wednesday.
Michel Bacos was flying from Tel Aviv to Paris when Palestinian and German radicals hijacked the aircraft, which was eventually flown to Entebbe in Uganda.
The former French Resistance fighter earned France’s highest award, the Legion d’Honneur, for refusing to leave the plane and ordering his crew to remain with Jewish passengers who were separated from non-Jews.
He died in the south of France where he had been living with his wife for the last 30 years, their son, Eric Bacos, told AFP.
The hostages were eventually freed after six days by Israeli commandos, who launched a raid that has since been re-told in multiple documentaries and films as one of the most famous special-forces operations in history.
The commandos freed all but four of 105 hostages, with the loss of one Israeli soldier, Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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