14 Surviving Hostage Rescue Missions

If they pass the selection process, the operators receive substantial scuba training. Much of the training is conducted at night—the best time for the insertion of swimmers during a hostage-rescue operation is under cover of darkness. Years ago, operators were required to lay on the muddy bottom of the River Siene, listening to the heavy barges passing overhead. This allowed the individuals to get used to the sound of passing ships, which appeared larger and closer than they actually were. The GIGN’s expertise in swimming proved essential in May 1977 when combat swimmers were deployed during a train hijack. A Dutch train was seized by terrorists. Combat swimmers managed to swim up a canal running close to the railroad track and attach heat detectors and listening devices to the outside of the train. These enabled the rescue planners to establish the precise whereabouts of the gunmen before the final assault.

The elite sniper rarely gets more than one chance to hit his target, so he must make sure that he does not hit a hostage.

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