Sayeret Matkal (Hebrew: General Staff Reconnaissance Unit) is a Special Forces unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, SAYERET MATKAL is also tasked with counter-terrorism and hostage rescue beyond Israel’s borders.

The unit is modeled after the British Army’s Special Air Service and is the Israeli equivalent of Delta Force of the United States.

In this video, we look 5 most daring operation of Sayeret Matkal.


In December 26, 1968, El Al Flight 253, a Boeing 707 en route from Tel Aviv, Israel, to New York City, was attacked by two Palestinians terrorists.

Two Arabs dashed out of the transit lounge of Athens Airport just as the Israeli plane, parked 200 yards away, was preparing to take off. The plane had flown in earlier from Tel Aviv. More than a minute of submachine gun firing was initiated. One passenger was killed and 2 women were injured.
Police arrested the two men and said the men confessed they were members of a Palestinian organization and had planned to destroy the jet and kill all Israeli passengers aboard.

Operation Gift, 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.

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

There were no casualties reported in the raid. The total value of the destroyed planes was estimated to be $43.8 million.


Sabena Flight 571 was a scheduled passenger flight from Vienna to Tel Aviv operated by the Belgian national airline, Sabena. On 8 May 1972 a Boeing 707 passenger aircraft operating that service, captained by British pilot Reginald Levy, was hijacked by four members of the Black September Organization, a Palestinian terrorist group. Following their instructions, Captain Levy landed the plane at Lod Airport

On 9 May 1972 at 4:00 p.m. the rescue operation began: a team of 16 Sayeret Matkal commandos, led by Ehud Barak and including Benjamin Netanyahu, both future Israeli Prime Ministers, approached the aircraft  disguised as aircraft technicians. Having immobilized it during the preceding night, they convinced the hijackers that its hydraulic system needed repair. They then stormed the aircraft, killing both male hijackers within two minutes. They also captured the two women hijackers and rescued all 90 remaining passengers.


In May 1974, three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) entered Israel from Lebanon. Soon afterwards they attacked a van, killing two Israeli Arab women while injuring a third and entered an apartment building in the town of Ma’alot, where they killed a couple and their four-year-old son.From there, they headed for the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage .The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students.

At 17:25, the commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces group was given the ‘green light’ to storm the building. The assault force was divided into three units; two to break in from the entrance while a third was to climb a ladder and enter from a window facing north.

A gun battle ensued with heavy firing. Terrorists killed twenty-two high school students. The three DFLP militants were neutralized, and all the remaining people were rescued.


Operation Entebbe took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 Sayeret Mat kal commandos over 4,000 km to Uganda for the rescue operation. The operation, which took a week of planning, lasted 90 minutes. 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one unit commander was killed. All the hijackers, three hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and 11 Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed.


Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on the suspected nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria, which occurred just after midnight (local time) on September 6, 2007.
But before the airstrike, it was needed to confirm if indeed nuclear activity was being performed in the site.
Here Sayeret Matkal was involved.
In mid-August 2007, Israeli commandos from the Sayeret Matkal reconnaissance unit dressed in Syrian uniforms covertly raided the suspected Syrian nuclear facility and brought nuclear material back to Israel. Two helicopters ferried twelve commandos to the site in order to get photographic evidence and soil samples.

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