The Israelis, who electrified the world on July 4, 1976, with the Entebbe raid, are taking quiet satisfaction in signs of their influence on yesterday's events in Mogadishu.
Commentators here note that the West German commando unit received the benefit of Israeli organization, training and tactics.
The unit was formed just after the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 to prevent repetition of that assault in which Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes. A few months before, the Israelis had carried out a counter-terror attack that was an example of just the type of assault capability the West Germans hoped to achieve.
In fact, Israelis now say yesterday's raid on Mogadishu should be compared with the Israeli operation at Tel Aviv's Lod Airport in 1972 rather than to the Entebbe rescue.
Entebbe, after all, was far more hazardous since it entailed landing in the heart of hostile territory where the hijackers of the Israeli airliner had the protection of the Ugandan army units.
The May 9, 1972, action at Lod involved a Belgian Sabena airliner hijacked by four Palestinians who demanded that Israel free 270 Palestinian prisoners in its jails and fly them to Cairo.
Just after Moshe Dayan, then defense minister, notified the terrorists that their demands would be met, 17 Israeli soldiers in white overalls of a ground crew stormed the plane.
The elite troops had been allowed to approach the plane since the terrorists believed they had come to fix a damaged landing gear.
Two male hijackers were killed in the shootout, two women terrorists were captured and five passengers were wounded. One later died.
While the West German reportedly used gear of their own development - including plastic charges to blow holes in the plane and special grenades causing high noise and glare - other types of equipment reportedly are being used jointly by Israeli and West German units.
These are said to include a low-velocity pistol with bullets that knock out but do not kill - thus sparing the lives of passengers accidentally hit.
"I think it would not be too presumptuous of us to say that the Israeli contribution to the success of the Mogadishu operation is far greater than most people realize," said an Israeli source, pointing out that Israel had repeatedly offered to share its experience with other countries in the effort to stamp out international terrorism.
[In Washington, it was reported that Israel in fact helped to train the commando unit in the raid and that the West German commander visited Israel several times to work with the Israelis of the Entebbe encounter.]
The commander of Israel's border-police, Maj. Gen. Zvi Bar, said in a newspaper interview several weeks ago:
'The West German government has with these troops a trump card in the struggle against terrorism. I consider the training and tactics of this units to be the best there are at this time. This is also the opinion of American experts."