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World War II’s Great Raid
Known as the most epic and complex mission of World War II, the Great Raid happened in January 1945 when 121 volunteer U.S. Army Rangers set out on a rescue mission to save more than 500 allied prisoners of war who survived the Bataan Death March. The assault lasted for 30 minutes and freed hundreds of soldiers.
The Rescue of Shiran Franco
During an earthquake that struck northwest Turkey in 1999, an Israeli delegation was sent to assist in the rescue of civilians trapped under rubble. Among the rescued was the nine-year-old Israeli citizen Shiran Franco who, along with her family, was trapped for a total of 96 hours. When found, Shiran was severely dehydrated but miraculously survived. In total, there were 12 survivors and 140 recovered bodies.
Operation Barras took place in 2000, when African rebels known as the West Side Boys took 11 British soldiers and a local Sierra Leone liaison officer hostage. Five of these soldiers were rescued via negotiations however, the remaining seven where rescued using Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS). The mission ended with one rescuer dead and 12 wounded with one of the wounded in serious condition. Nevertheless, 25 of the rebel forces were killed and 18 (including their leader ‘Brigadier’ Foday Kallay) were captured.
Moscow Theater Hostage Rescue
On October 23, 2002 40-50 armed Chechen rebel fighters allied to the Islamist militant separatists movement in Chechnya took over the Dubrovka Theater. Led by Movsar Barayev, the rebels held 850 hostages and demanded the withdrawal of the Russian forces from Chechnya. The rescue operation was executed by Russian Spetsnaz forces who fed an unknown chemical agent into the theaters ventilation system before storming in. This agent however adversely affected and killed 130 of the hostages. Nevertheless, all 40 of the rebels were killed.
Beslan School Hostage Rescue
On September 1, 2004 at School Number One (SNO) in Beslan, 1,100 people were taken hostages by the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs Group. Russian security forces stormed the building using tanks and thermobaric rockets. This rescue operation turned out to be bloody as more than 330 people were killed, about half of them children.