What Happened on Bus 300?

The Jerusalem Post - December 28, 2001

On April 12, 1984, four Palestinian terrorists hijacked Egged Bus No. 300 en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon with 41 passengers and forced it to drive to the Gaza Strip. In Deir el-Balah, about 15 kilometers south of Gaza City, the bus finally came to a stop and was surrounded by military and Border Police units.

The terrorists said they belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by George Habash. All night long they negotiated for the release of some 500 PLO terrorists in Israeli jails. Just before dawn, an IDF elite unit, led by then-brigadier-general Yitzhak Mordechai, stormed the bus.

One young woman was killed and seven other passengers were wounded in the rescue. Two of the terrorists were killed inside the bus. The other two reportedly were wounded and died en route to a hospital.

At the time, the censor banned publication of pictures taken by two Israeli photographers that revealed the fact that the two "mortally wounded" terrorists had walked off the bus unhurt. They were subsequently beaten by everyone who could lay hands on them, then taken away in a van by Shin Bet agents, who tortured and killed them.

"I smashed their skulls," on orders of then-Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom, and "I'm proud of everything I've done," retiring agent Ehud Yatom was quoted as having told the Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot. He later denied having made the statements.

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