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10 famous surgical strikes in the modern history

history popular surgical strike

Engaging in a full-scale war is risky for any country, and at the same time leaving the enemy without teaching them a lesson is not acceptable for any nation. Which is why surgical strike comes to the picture where the intention is to damage the legitimate military target without destroying public properties and infrastructure. Here are ten famous surgical strikes in the modern history of the world.

Operation Infinite Reach

Operation Infinite Reach 1998

On 20th August 1998 the then-President Bill Clinton ordered US Navy to launch an attack against the al-Qaeda to take the revenge of the death of 224 people died in the US Embassy attack at Kenya and Tanzania. The operation was launched to destroy the Al-Shifa plant as the US suspected a tie between the plant and Osama Bin Laden. USA intelligence gave a report of financial ties and was producing chemical weapons for Al-Qaeda. The attack destroyed the plant facilities and killed 5 ISI officers, one Sudanese and 50 militants, however, Laden escaped as he was not present at the time of the attack.

Operation Opera

Operation Opera 1981

In 1976, France sold “Osiris”-class nuclear reactor to Iraq and according to a deal, and both nations maintained the reactor for peaceful scientific research purpose. However, due to the ongoing conflict between Isreal and Iraq, the Jewish state suspected that Saddam regime might have any plan to make nuclear weapons.
On 7 June 1981, Israeli Air Force carried an attack by using F-16A fighter aircraft and F-15As on the order of Isreali Prime Minister Menachem Begin to destroy the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor. The attack heavily damaged the reactor and killed 10 Iraqi soldiers and One French Civilian. The attack was heavily criticised including the United States, but Israel called it as an act of self-defence.

Operation Entebbe

most daring operation by Mossad
Israel Govt. Press Release

One of the most daring surgical strikes carried out by Israel Defense Force to rescue its citizens from Uganda’s Entebbe Airport where they were taken as hostages. Members of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations hijacked an Air France Airbus A300 with 248 passengers and demanded the release of 40 Palestinian militants from Israel. After the failure at the diplomatic level, Israel decided to carry the surgical strike where their commandos faked as Idi Ameen and entered into the airport. They successfully made fool Uganda soldiers by using a black Mercedes car similar to Idi Amin and drove in the same fashion. They killed 7 hijackers, and more than 45 Ugandan soldiers and destroyed 30 aircraft.

Bay of Pigs Invasion

CIA failed attack

The primary objective of the invasion was to overthrow the communist government of Cuba led by Fedel Castro but failed even though Cuba suffered heavy casualties. On 17th April 1961 President John. F. Kennedy ordered to invade Cuba to eliminate Castro with the support of Cuban DRF, an anti-Castro organisation that operated at the USA to act against the Communist regime of Cuba. The invasion met a disastrous end where the US also lost 118 soldiers, and strengthen Castro leadership and improved the relationship between USSR and Cuba.

Invasion of the Falkland Islands

Invasion of the Falkland Islands

On 2nd April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands to establish its rule by overthrowing the governor supported by the United Kingdom. The invasion lasted for 10 weeks where the island suffered heavy casualties and resulted in the victory of Argentina.

Capture of Manuel Noriega


In 1989, the United States invaded Panama to capture and remove its de facto ruler and it was considered as one of the large military operation carried by the US that involved 27000 soldiers. Though initially, he ignored the warning from his officials about the possible invasion, but later go on the run. The Navy Seal tracked his presence and surrounded at a Roman Catholic facility and after a bloody firefight, and dramatic incidents like playing loud music, Noriega surrendered.

Battle of Mogadishu (1993)

Battle of Mogadishu

The operation was famously known as the Battle of Mogadishu but failed to capture the Somalia warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid after two helicopters were shot down by his soldiers that resulted in the death of 18 soldiers. Though the USA was unable to arrest Aidid still, the casualties from his side were heavy due to the combined operation of Malaysia, Pakistan and United Nation peace force who arrived there to rescue the US soldiers. Just like Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Battle of Mogadishu was one of those few failed attempts of the United States to overthrow a ruler.

2015 Counter-insurgency operation in Myanmar

To avenge the death of 18 Indian soldiers, Indian Air Force with the Indian Army conducted a surgical strike against the insurgent group on 9th June 2015. A group of 70 commandos carried a cross-border operation at India-Myanmar border and destroyed two camps of NSCN (K) and KYKLresulted in the death of 158 militants. The army also attacked two camps of Naga Militants.

2016 Indian Line of Control strike

There were multiple surgical strikes before, but 2016 was the first time when Indian Army officially announced it and Pakistan accepted the claim too. After the terror attack on URI which claimed 19 soldiers lives, the Indian Army decided to take revenge through a surgical strike and killed nearly 70 terrorists and two Pakistani soldiers.

2019 Surgical Strike 2.0

2019 Surgical Strike 2.0
Source: Twitter

Famously known as Surgical Strike 2.0; on 26th February 2019 Indian Air Force started its operation around 3.40am to destroy the terror camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) based on Pakistan soil. The purpose was to avenge the death of forty CRPF soldiers died in a terror attack on 14th February 2019 as JeM openly admitted its role whereas Pakistan as usual asked for proof. After the 1971 war, for the first time, IAF did cross-border air strike and dropped around 1000 kg bombs that killed nearly 350 terrorists including JeM chief’s brother in law Maulana Yousuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghouri.