1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon

1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon
Part of Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon
Planned by Israel Defense Forces
Objective Destroy Middle East Airlines passenger planes on Beirut International Airport
Date December 28, 1968
Executed by Sayeret Matkal
Outcome Success

The 1968 Israeli raid on Lebanon, code-named Operation Gift (Hebrew: מבצע תשורה), was an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Special Forces operation at the Beirut International Airport in the evening of December 28, 1968. The operation was in response to the attack on the Israeli Airliner El Al Flight 253 two days earlier by the Palestinian Lebanon-based militant organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The commandos from the Israeli army's elite Sayeret Matkal destroyed 12 passenger airplanes1) belonging to Middle East Airlines (MEA), Lebanese International Airways (LIA) and 2 cargo planes belonging to Trans Mediterranean Airways (TMA).[1][2]

There were no casualties reported in the raid.[3]

1) references differ; less reliable reports quote a total of 13 aircraft


Of the 14 aircraft destroyed, eight (i.e. one Vickers VC-10 (on lease from Ghana Airways), one Boeing 707-320C, 2 Caravelle VIN, 3 Comet 4C and 1 Vickers Viscount) belonged to MEA, which was 30% owned by Air France, 5% by Lebanese individuals and 65% by the Intra Investment Company. Intra was an inter-governmental corporation constituted by the Kuwaiti, Qatari, Lebanese and American governments. The US was represented by the Commodity Credit Corporation which was owed money by Intra Bank, the predecessor of Intra Company, for wheat sales.

Lebanese International Airways owned four (i.e. 2 Douglas DC-7 and 2 Convair 990 Coronado) of the destroyed aircraft which were 58% American owned.

Trans-Mediterranean Airways lost two planes (i.e. 1 Douglas DC-4 and 1 Douglas DC-6) owned by private Lebanese individuals.

The total value of the planes was estimated to be $43.8 million of which British insurers initially agreed to pay $18 million, excluding all policies which did not cover acts of war.[4]


  1. Time (July 13, 2006). "The Risks of Israel's Two-Front War". Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  2. Annual summary 1968/3, Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved November 9, 2015
  3. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (August 13, 2000). "THE WAR OF ATTRITION AND THE CEASE FIRE - INTRODUCTION". Retrieved May 30, 2008.
  4. John Norton Morton (Editor) (1974) The Arab Israeli Conflict. Volume II. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05648-X. p.221, quoting New York Times 5 January 1969, section 4, p.1

External links

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