On May 30, 1972, Kozo Okamoto along with Yasuyuki Yasuda, and Tsuyoshi Okudaira, arrived at Israel's Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, via Air France Flight 132 from San Juan, Puerto Rico. After disembarking from the plane the three members of the JRA opened fire with automatic weapons in the arrival terminal.
The attack was a joint operation of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and the Japanese Red Army. They killed 26 people and injured 78 others. Yasuyuki Yasuda was killed in the attack when he ran out of ammunition. Tsuyoshi Okudaira committed suicide by placing a grenade against his body. Kozo Okamoto was captured trying to escape the terminal.
In the letter claiming official responsibility for the attack carried out by the Japanese Red Army, the PFLP referred to it as Operation Dir Yassin. This was to portray it as revenge for the 1948 massacre by Israeli soldiers on Palestinian civilians in the village of the same name. The letter also stated that the operation was carried out by the Squad of the Martyr Patrick Arguello. Patrick Arguello had been shot and killed two years earlier, on 6 September 1970 on an Israeli El Al jet he had attempted to highjack together with PFLP member Laila Khaled.
Kozo Okamoto was sentenced to life imprisonment in Israel, but was released in 1985, after spending 13 years in prison, as part of a prisoner exchange with Palestinian militant factions. After his release from prison in Israel, Kozo Okamoto moved to Libya, then Syria and finally to Lebanon where he reunited with other members of the Japanese Red Army.
In February 1997 Lebanon detained five Red Army members, Haruo Wako, Masao Adachi, Mariko Yamamoto, Kazuo Tohira and Kozo Okamoto for using forged passports and visa violations. They were sentenced to three years in prison. After their prison term was completed the four other members of the JRA were forcibly deported to Jordan and from Amman, Jordan via a chartered Russian plane to Japan. The Lebanese government however granted political asylum to Kozo Okamoto because "had participated in resistance operations against Israel and had been tortured in Israeli jails."
Kozo Okamoto is still wanted by the Japanese government. It has requested that he be extradited to Japan. This request was not made when Kozo Okamoto was a prisoner in Israel.