Egged Bus 300 Kidnapping and Hostage Affair Takes Place

Armed with knives and explosives, four Arab terrorists board and hijack an Israeli bus with 41 passengers heading south from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon. Towards the beginning of the episode, the hijackers release a pregnant woman from the bus, who immediately alerts authorities. The incident quickly turns into a high speed chase, as the hijackers redirect the Egged Bus towards the Egyptian border. With the Israeli army behind the speeding bus, it billows through roadblocks, eventually having Israeli military forces shoot out the tires ten miles north of the border, forcing the bus to an abrupt stop.

The hijackers hold the passengers hostage, demanding that the Israeli government both release 500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel and grant them safe passage to Egypt. After tireless negotiations, a Special Forces unit of the IDF raids the bus. All passengers are freed, except for one who is killed during the operation. During the raid, two hijackers are killed and two are captured. Following the detainment of the two terrorists, they are bound, brought to a nearby field and executed.  The execution order is believed to have been given by of Avraham Shalom, chief of the Israeli security service, the Shin Bet.

The official account of the event claims that all four terrorists had been killed in the raid of the bus.  One photo journalist, Alex Levac, however, takes photographs of the two hijackers being carried away from the bus alive.  The photos are published in the press creating a scandal. A subsequent trial of the officers and soldiers involved in killings results in the pardons of all parties involved.  Shalom resigns as part of the pardon deal.

This famous incident has become part of many documentaries and television shows in Israel, including the 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers.

The photo shows the aftermath of the Egged Bus 300 Affair. Photo: Public Domain.