Israeli Role in Colombian Rescue

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt walks freely today, thanks in part to Israel.

Betancourt was released Wednesday along with 14 other hostages, after six years of captivity in the Colombian jungle.

"I am unaware of a precedent to such a perfect mission," Betancourt said after her rescue.

"Maybe only the Israelis...their wonderful commandos may be reminiscent of the mission that took place here," she said.

Israel's involvement in the operation began a year and a half ago when Colombia asked Israel for help against FARC, the Marxist rebels who kidnapped Betancourt in 2002.

Israel responded by dispatching a group of military advisors to assist the army in matters of intelligence, special operations and integration of security forces for the operation, though they did not participate in the actual rescue.

Global CST, an Israeli security firm owned by Major General (res.) Israel Ziv and Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, both reservists in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), coordinated Israel's participation.

"It's a Colombian Entebbe operation," Ziv said Thursday, in reference to Israel's dramatic 1976 hostage rescue that freed 102 Israelis and Jews held captive in Entebbe, Uganda.

But despite their role, both Ziv and Kuperwasser give all the credit to Colombia.

"We don't want to take credit for something we didn't do," a company official said.

"We helped them prepare themselves to fight terror. We helped them to plan operations and strategies and develop intelligence sources. That's quite a bit, but shouldn't be taken too far."

Sources: Haaretz, YNet news 

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