Dark Side of Mossad Intelligence

DarkSideOfMossadIntelligence

"I Have No Problem About The People I’ve Killed......."...

lamed him for a conspiracy to use international airmail to plant barometrically triggered bombs on planes flying from Europe to Israel. One such bomb exploded in February 1970, shortly after taking off from Frankfurt on a flight to Vienna, but the pilot managed to make an emergency landing. The pilot of Swissair Flight 330, from Zurich to Hong Kong, with a stopover in Tel Aviv, also tried to land after a bomb went off in his cargo compartment but crashed into a forest. All forty-seven passengers and crew members were killed. The Mossad also believed that Hamshari was connected to a failed attempt on Ben-Gurion’s life during his visit to Denmark in May 1969, and that his apartment in Paris served as the arsenal for Black September. Bayonet operatives watching Hamshari in Paris found that he spent a large part of his time with his wife and baby daughter at home, and the rest meeting various people, mostly in busy public places. Being surrounded by so many innocents presented a problem, to which Meir was acutely sensitive. She invited Harari to her home and made him a cup of tea. “Mike,” she said, “be sure that not a hair falls from the head of a French citizen. Not even a single hair. Do you understand me?” Despite her newfound willingness to kill people in Europe, Meir still understood that certain protocols had to be followed. She also remained uncomfortable shouldering sole responsibility for condemning men to death.

Israel

Shadowy and deadly - the long arm of the Mossad

 

 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/16/mossad-operations-false-passports 

Ian Black examines Israeli secret service's long history of clandestine operations and use of false passports
Ian Black, Middle East editor
Tue 16 Feb 2010
 

Israel's Mossad secret service, more formally known as the Institute for Espionage and Special Tasks, has a long history of carrying out clandestine operations, including several spectacular assassinations. Much remains secret but cases that are documented have involved large teams of agents using false or stolen passports to disguise their Israeli origins.

The Mossad's assassination unit has been known at different times as Caesarea and Kidon (Bayonet). Women agents have often been involved – there was reportedly one in the Dubai killing.

Israel's official silence does not mean that it cannot be heard trumpeting its success. "The intelligence [about Dubai] was reliable and accurate," ­commented the respected national security specialist Yossi Melman in the newspaper Haaretz earlier this month. "Even though Mabhouh knew Israeli ­intelligence had him in its sights and took stringent precautions they still managed to get him."

Information released by Dubai shows the professionalism of the suspected assassins and their methods, Melman commented today, citing a novel written by a former Mossad officer, Mishka Ben-David, the plot of which bears a close similarity to the abortive poison attack on the Hamas leader Khaled Misha'al in Jordan in 1997. That case caused huge political embarrassment when two agents using false Canadian passports fled to the Israeli embassy in Amman.

Israel's isolation in the Middle East meant an early reliance on secret operations. The Mossad's victims over the years – some avowed, others not – have included German scientists working on Egypt's rocket programme in the 1960s, Iraqis working on nuclear projects in the 1980s, and, it is assumed, Iranians who are thought to be doing the same today. Mossad agents also carried out the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann, the fugitive SS officer and architect of Hitler's "final solution," in Argentina in 1960. Eichmann was abducted and smuggled back to Israel, where he was tried and hanged.

Other key killings include that of the PLO military chief Abu Jihad in Tunisia in 1988 and an Islamic Jihad leader in Malta in the mid-1990s. The Mossad was also held responsible for the assassination of the military chief of Lebanon's Hezbollah, Imad Mughniyeh, in Syria two years ago, but Israel has never formally avowed it. Most Mossad operations, like those of most intelligence agencies, have taken place in the shadows only to emerge in a blaze of publicity and political embarassment after the event.

So it was when Golda Meir ordered the agency to hunt down and kill the Palestinians who massacred 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972 in the name of the Black September group. Eleven Palestinians were eliminated in a Mossad operation known as Wrath of God in killings in Rome, Cyprus, Paris, Beirut, Athens, Rome and a small town in Norway where an innocent Moroccan waiter was mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, the alleged planner of Munich. Salameh was killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 1979.

Motives of revenge and deterrence appear to go hand in hand. "We tried not to do things just by shooting a guy in the streets, that's easy – fairly," said Dave Kimche, a former deputy head of the agency, talking of one assassination carried out by a bomb planted in a telephone. "By putting a bomb in his phone, this was a message that they can be got anywhere, at any time and therefore they have to look out for themselves 24 hours a day."

Mabhouh was apparently targeted because of his role in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 at the end of the first Palestinian intifada. But some question the sense, if not the morality, of such assassinations. "Every terrorist, no matter how senior, is soon replaced, sometimes by someone even better or more professional," Melman wrote in Haaretz

Iran Source July 14th 2023

I Have No Problem About The People I’ve Killed

 

“THE BEAUTIFUL SARAH HAS left the building and is making her way to her house.” This was the message transmitted over the Bayonet team’s radio network in Rome one night in October 1972. “Okay, get moving. Prepare to engage,” ordered Mike Harari from his command post. “The Beautiful Sarah” was not a woman, but the code name for a tall, thin, bespectacled man with a shock of shiny black hair and a very expressive face. His real name was Wael Zwaiter, and he was a Palestinian who worked part-time at the Libyan embassy in Rome as a translator. Zwaiter had nearly finished translating One Thousand and One Nights from Arabic to Italian, and he had spent the evening at the home of his friend Janet Venn-Brown, an Australian artist, discussing some of the finer points of his rendition of the colorful descriptions in the book. At the door, his hostess had given Zwaiter a loaf of bread she had baked for him. He put it into the envelope in which he kept his manuscript. After he left, he headed for his apartment at 4 Piazza Annibaliano. He took two buses, and when he got off the second one he went into a bar, all the time holding a white envelope containing the last chapters of his translation. A Bayonet surveillance team was watching Zwaiter the whole time. The Mossad believed he was not merely a translator—that this was only a cover and that he was, in fact, the commander of Black September operations in Rome. Italy was a particularly weak country when it came to counterterror enforcement, and Rome had become the European center of Palestinian terrorist activity at the time. The Mossad thought Zwaiter was responsible for smuggling in personnel and weaponry and selecting targets. The Mossad also suspected Zwaiter of having masterminded an attempt in September to plant a bomb on board an El Al flight from Rome. Italian authorities had their suspicions as well: In August, police briefly detained him in connection with Black September attacks against oil companies trading with Israel. Zwaiter left the café and headed home. The surveillance team radioed two of their comrades, confirming that the target was approaching. Zwaiter stepped into the dimly lit lobby of his apartment building and pressed the button for the elevator. He never saw the two assassins hiding in the shadows beneath the stairwell until it was too late. They pulled out Beretta pistols with silencers screwed to the barrels and shot Zwaiter eleven times. He was hurled backward by the impact of the bullets into a row of potted plants and fell to the ground, clasping his Arabian Nights manuscript. He died there on the floor. Within hours, all seventeen Bayonet operatives were out of Italy and on their way back to Israel. None of them had been caught. The operation had gone exactly as planned. Zwaiter was only the first on a very long list of militants and PLO staffers who were going to die. — THE CHANGE IN GOLDA Meir’s attitude toward friendly European countries was immediate and severe. Born in Kiev and raised in Milwaukee, she saw the world in straightforward and sometimes rigid terms: Things were either black or white, good or bad. In Meir’s mind, there was a direct link between the actions of the Palestinian terrorists and the atrocities of World War II: “Those who harm the Jews first harm other peoples later; that’s how it was with Hitler, and that’s the way it is with the Arab terrorists,” she said to the publisher of The New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger, Sr. She would blithely proclaim that she understood little about military affairs and intelligence—relying on Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, cabinet minister Yisrael Galili, and Mossad chief Zvi Zamir—but after the Munich slaughter she understood clearly enough that Israel could not depend on other countries to protect its citizens. Rather than defer to any nation’s sovereignty, Israel would now kill people wherever and whenever they reached the conclusion that it was necessary. This policy change had a significant effect on Caesarea’s operations. Prior to Munich, Meir had limited killings to “target” countries, those that were officially hostile to Israel, such as Syria and Lebanon. But it was difficult for Caesarea operatives to kill anyone in those countries because of the hazardous environment. Using a gun or a sniper rifle—methods that required close contact with the target —invariably drew quick attention from the local authorities, and even if the killers escaped cleanly from the scene, stringent border controls triggered by a highprofile murder would likely be put in place before they could leave the country. An Israeli assassin captured in a target country was likely going to die, and only after being brutally tortured. Distance killings might have been safer, but they also were less effective, vulnerable to many variables, and all too likely to kill or maim innocents. Operating in so-called base countries—those with friendly relations, which included all of Western Europe—was much more convenient. At most, an assassin who got caught would serve a prison term. Moreover, the Mossad’s Universe (Tevel) division, responsible for liaison with foreign intelligence bodies, had developed a network of close ties with many of Europe’s services, known in Mossad jargon as “soft cushions” because they could provide local contacts to help smooth things over in the event of complications—sometimes in return for a favor. The bottom line was that in Europe it was a lot easier to kill a man and get away with it. And there were a lot of men to kill. The first hit list consisted of eleven names: terrorists involved in the Munich massacre. It soon became clear that they were all holed up in Arab states or Eastern Europe, and it would be difficult to reach them. However, a lot of information had begun to accumulate in the meantime about other targets who were less important but who resided in Europe. After Munich, anyone the Mossad suspected of being involved with Black September—in effect, anyone suspected of belonging to the PLO in general—became a legitimate target. That made for a lengthy list of targets. “We wanted to create a noisy effect,” one Caesarea operative said. “A genuine assassination, from close range, that would evoke fear and trembling, a deed that, even if Israel denied having anything to do with, it would be clear that an Israeli finger squeezed the trigger.” That finger would belong to Bayonet. In mid-September 1972, Zvi Zamir showed up at Bayonet’s training center. “Israel is not going to sit idly by,” he told the operatives. “We are going to get the people who did this. You will be the long arm of the Office.” “Those words,” a Caesarea operative code-named Kurtz said, “roused a sense of pride in us.” Within a year of Munich, fourteen Palestinian militants would be dead.

THE LEADER OF THE hit teams and commander of some of its operations was Nehemia Meiri, a Holocaust survivor born to a traditional Jewish family in the village of Demblin, in southern Poland. He was twelve years old when the Gestapo rounded up the Jews of his village and marched them into a nearby forest. The Jews were ordered to dig a pit and forced to line up along its edge. Then they were machine-gunned. Nehemia, already a resourceful and strong boy, dived into the pit a split second before the order to open fire was given. The Germans did not notice, and he lay quietly among the corpses of his family and neighbors until the killing was over. When the Germans were gone, he crawled out of the mass grave, soaked in blood. Later in the war, after Meiri was captured and forced into hard labor at an airstrip, he saved the life of a senior Luftwaffe officer who crashed his Messerschmitt on the runway. Meiri climbed into the burning aircraft and rescued the unconscious pilot, thereby buying himself years of protection. After the war, he immigrated to Palestine on the famous illegal immigrant ship Exodus. He fought in the 1948 War of Independence, was taken prisoner, and once again miraculously survived after a Jordanian soldier began mowing the POWs down. Afterward, he joined the Shin Bet, serving on Ben-Gurion’s bodyguard detail. His colleagues and superiors noted that he was coolheaded and had no moral qualms about killing anyone who harmed Jews. “Nehemia used to get up in the morning with a knife between his teeth,” one of his team members recalled. Meiri was a member of the Birds, the joint Mossad–Shin Bet operational team. He took part in the abduction of Alexander Yisraeli, the con man who tried to sell Israel’s secrets, and he participated in the campaign to assassinate and intimidate the Nazi scientists building Nasser’s missiles. Later on, he was transferred to Caesarea and assigned to the team that set up Bayonet. Eitan Haber, one of Israel’s best-known journalists, who also served as Yitzhak Rabin’s bureau chief, said he once chided Zamir for putting Meiri in Bayonet.

It was immoral, Haber said, “an exploitation of Holocaust horrors in order to create a killing machine.” But Meiri had no problem being in Bayonet, and no compunction about what he did while he served in the unit. Over the years, people who knew of his covert life asked if he was ever haunted by images of the people he had killed, or if he had nightmares about them. “I dream at night about my family,” Meiri would reply. “I dream about the valley of slaughter there, next to Demblin in Poland; I dream about the Muselmänner [starving, sick inmates] in the death camps. Those are the things that bother me. I have no problem with anyone that I’ve killed. They deserved a bullet in the chest and two in the head, each one of them.” Meiri was one of the men who shot Zwaiter to death in Rome. Two weeks later, the next target was marked: Mahmoud Hamshari, allegedly the number-two man in Black September. The Mossad blamed him for a conspiracy to use international airmail to plant barometrically triggered bombs on planes flying from Europe to Israel. One such bomb exploded in February 1970, shortly after taking off from Frankfurt on a flight to Vienna, but the pilot managed to make an emergency landing. The pilot of Swissair Flight 330, from Zurich to Hong Kong, with a stopover in Tel Aviv, also tried to land after a bomb went off in his cargo compartment but crashed into a forest. All forty-seven passengers and crew members were killed. The Mossad also believed that Hamshari was connected to a failed attempt on Ben-Gurion’s life during his visit to Denmark in May 1969, and that his apartment in Paris served as the arsenal for Black September. Bayonet operatives watching Hamshari in Paris found that he spent a large part of his time with his wife and baby daughter at home, and the rest meeting various people, mostly in busy public places. Being surrounded by so many innocents presented a problem, to which Meir was acutely sensitive. She invited Harari to her home and made him a cup of tea. “Mike,” she said, “be sure that not a hair falls from the head of a French citizen. Not even a single hair. Do you understand me?” Despite her newfound willingness to kill people in Europe, Meir still understood that certain protocols had to be followed. She also remained uncomfortable shouldering sole responsibility for condemning men to death.

Whenever Zamir asked her to sign a “Red Page,” as the kill order was called because of the color of the paper it was typed on, she would convene a select group of her cabinet ministers to deliberate with her—including her minister for religious affairs, Zerach Warhaftig, who would anoint each mission with a religious stamp of approval. Killing Hamshari, then, would have to be done when he was alone inside his apartment. Meiri and Romi made the operational plan, which called for the participation of an additional unit—a departure from the usual protocols of Caesarea, which generally functioned as an independent unit within the Mossad. On December 3, a team from Rainbow (Keshet in Hebrew, the new name of Colossus, the unit responsible for clandestine penetration) broke into Hamshari’s apartment and took dozens of photographs, focusing especially on his work area. Those pictures were then flown to Israel and studied by Yaakov Rehavi, in the Mossad’s technical department. He noticed that the telephone sat on a marble base. He and his staff crafted an identical base, stuffed with explosives. On December 7, a man who introduced himself as an Italian journalist named Carl, but was actually Nehemia Meiri, phoned Hamshari and set up an interview at a café near his home the next day. As the interview was taking place, the Rainbow team broke in again and swapped out the phone base. A short time after Hamshari returned home, his phone rang. “Is this Monsieur Dr. Hamshari?” a voice asked. When the affirmative came, a button on a remote detonator was pushed and the marble base blew up. Hamshari was “almost cut in half” by the fragments of marble, according to Kurtz, who took part in the operation. He died several weeks later in a Paris hospital

. —

THE MOSSAD AND AMAN personnel coordinating the targeted killings devoted considerable time and thought to the ethics of each one. It was important that such acts be perceived as moral, at least in the assassins’ own eyes. Even forty years later, Harari and his operatives described the deep conviction they held in both the end and the means. “In Caesarea there were no born killers. They were normal people, like you and me,” Harari told me. “If they hadn’t come to Caesarea, you wouldn’t have found them working as contract killers in the underworld. My warriors in Caesarea were on a mission for the state. They knew that someone had to die because he had killed Jews and if he went on living he’d kill more Jews, and therefore they did it out of conviction. Not one of them had any doubts over whether it had to be done or not; there was not even the slightest hesitation.” Mossad chief Zamir also knew that having Meir’s backing was important to his warriors. He knew how the prime minister’s mind worked, too, so he always brought one or two Bayonet operatives with him when he met with her. One of them told her how important it was to know that their commander, Meir, was “a person with a world of moral values, with good judgment.” Because of that, he continued, the assassins “feel much more comfortable with everything they’ve done, even if sometimes, once, there were question marks.” Meir beamed with happiness. “I sit facing them,” she said after another meeting with Caesarea warriors, “full of wonder at their courage, composure, ability to execute, knowledge. They sit right in the jaws of the enemy….I cannot explain to myself how we were blessed with a group like this.” Despite such mutual admiration, and the shared conviction in the morality of their actions, there were in fact a number of questions about the motives behind many of the post-Munich targeted killings, and whether the appropriate targets were chosen. “Some of the Arabs we killed in that period, we didn’t know why we were killing them, and they also don’t know to this day why they died,” a Caesarea officer said. “Zwaiter had nothing to do with the killing of the athletes, except, perhaps, that their plane flew over Rome on the way to Munich.” A top Mossad official who looked at the Zwaiter file years too late admitted that “it was a terrible mistake.” Indeed, Palestinians have long insisted that Zwaiter was a peaceable intellectual who abhorred violence. (Granted, similar claims have been made about nearly every other Bayonet target from that period.) But for some, that didn’t matter. “Let’s say that he [Zwaiter] was just the PLO representative in Rome, about which there’s no disagreement,” said an AMAN officer who dealt with identifying targets for Mossad hits. “We looked at the organization as one entity, and we never accepted the distinction between the people who dealt with politics and those who dealt with terror. Fatah was a terrorist organization that was murdering Jews. Anyone who was a member of such an organization had to know that he was a legitimate target.” Indeed, it is difficult to determine retrospectively whether the Zwaiter slaying was an error or part of an approach that had, and still today has, many disciples in Israeli intelligence: Every member of a terrorist organization, even if his function is not directly connected to acts of terrorism, is a legitimate target. The problem inherent in this approach was that it allowed the Mossad to kill the people it could, not necessarily those the agency believed it should. Though the Mossad considered the targeted killing campaign a success, by early 1973 it was clear that it had not damaged the top echelons of the PLO. Those targets were sheltered in Beirut. That was where Israel would have to strike. And that would be a much more difficult mission. — ON OCTOBER 9, 1972, a coded message arrived at the AMAN base responsible for communications with Israel’s agents in the Middle East. The base, which is situated on a ridge facing the sea and is surrounded by sand dunes, lies in one of Israel’s prettiest landscapes. Hundreds of soldiers were employed there to receive, decipher, encode, and transmit top-secret material. The message that night read, “Model requests urgent meeting.” Model was the code name for Clovis Francis, one of the most valuable agents AMAN and the Mossad had ever run in Lebanon. He was a well-groomed Lebanese man from a rich, connected Christian family, and he served Israel faithfully for decades. He’d been sending encrypted messages since the 1940s, when he relied on homing pigeons. Using a camera installed in the door of his car, he supplied Israeli intelligence with some 100,000 photographs over the years, documenting every corner of the country. He visited Israel periodically, traveling by submarine or naval vessel, to brief top intelligence officials. But he never asked for payment. He spied, he said, because “I believed in an alliance between Lebanon and Israel and, later, because I saw the Palestinians’ activities in Lebanon as a great danger to my country.” Three days after his message requesting a meeting, a rubber dinghy slid up in the dark of night to a beach near Tyre, in southern Lebanon. Model climbed in and was ferried to a missile boat, which steamed to Haifa. The top officers of Unit 504 were waiting there to hear what he had to say. Model did not disappoint. He brought with him the home addresses of four top PLO officials in Beirut: Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar, the head of the PLO’s intelligence apparatus, who had been involved in the planning and approval processes for the Munich operation; Kamal Adwan, responsible for Fatah’s clandestine operations inside Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip; Kamal Nasser, the PLO spokesman; and Abu Jihad, Arafat’s second in command. The first three lived near one another in a pair of high-rise buildings on Verdun Street. The information was passed to Romi, Caesarea’s intelligence officer, and he convened a series of meetings at the Caesarea HQ at Tel Aviv’s 2 Kaplan Street. In addition to the information about the residences of the PLO men, large amounts of high-grade intel had been amassed on additional PLO targets in Lebanon— weapons workshops, command posts, offices. Harari said that he believed “there’s a [targeted killing] operation here,” but there were still too many gaps in the info for him to move forward. “It was a rule with me,” Harari said, “that if there was no intelligence there would be no operation. Period.” In order to fill in those gaps in information, Caesarea decided to send a female operative into Beirut. Yael (only her first name can be made public) was born in Canada in 1936 and grew up in New Jersey in a Jewish family without any link to Israel. Later on, she developed an emotional relationship toward the young country, and decided that “true Zionism entails making aliyah (immigrating) to Israel and forgoing the comforts of life in America.” At that time, before the Six-Day War, “Israel aroused in me a sympathy for the underdog. Since childhood, I was attracted to people who were vulnerable, discriminated against.” After immigrating and first finding work as a computer programmer, she was eventually recruited by the Mossad personnel division into the long and demanding Caesarea training course. In time, she became known as an exceptionally talented and coolheaded operative, who used her quiet charisma and her attractive appearance as a powerful weapon. When Harari sent Yael to Beirut, he told her, “With your femininity, delicateness, and beauty, who would suspect you?” Yael—code-named Nielsen in the Mossad—and her handlers crafted a cover story of someone who’d come to Lebanon to write a TV series on the life of Lady Hester Stanhope, an aristocratic British woman who defied the conservative restrictions of the nineteenth century and became a groundbreaking political and social activist. Stanhope traveled extensively and spent her last years in Lebanon and Syria. Yael arrived in Lebanon on January 14, 1973. She checked in at Le Bristol Hotel and, after a few days, rented an apartment in a luxury building exactly opposite the two buildings where the three targets lived. She quickly made friends with both locals and foreigners in Beirut, who agreed to help her in her research for the TV series about Lady Stanhope. Her cover story enabled her to move around freely and provided a legitimate pretext for traveling almost anywhere in the country. She began walking around the potential landing areas and the target buildings, carrying a handbag with a camera inside it, which she operated by pushing a button on the outside. “Every detail was important,” Yael later wrote in a journal. “Describing the day and nighttime routines in the three apartments, when the lights went on and off, who could be seen through the windows at what times, details about their cars, who came to call on them, whether the place was guarded.” With Yael’s extensive reconnaissance work in hand, the Mossad now knew whom to hit and where to hit them, but enormous obstacles still remained. The homes of the top PLO men were in densely populated blocks in Beirut, so explosives couldn’t be used—the likelihood of killing innocent civilians was unacceptably high. These would have to be close-contact hits. The problem, though, was that Lebanon was a target country, hostile to Israel, where a captured assassin would surely face torture and death. That meant that the Caesarea warriors already planted in Beirut were trained not in combat but rather in long-term, deepcover surveillance. And the Bayonet warriors, who could execute a clean kill, lacked convincing cover stories for getting into a target country and remaining there long enough to do the job. Even if they did, getting out of the country quickly after hitting as many as seven PLO targets—three men and four installations—would be well-nigh impossible. Romi and Harari came to an unavoidable conclusion: Caesarea couldn’t carry out such a mission on its own. Only the IDF had the necessary forces and resources for a successful raiding party. This was a new proposition—until that point, the Mossad and the IDF had never cooperated in assault operations on the ground. It carried a special risk as well. Israel routinely denied responsibility for Mossad hits, but the moment a large military force started killing people, even if soldiers weren’t in uniform, it would be impossible for Israel to claim it wasn’t involved. The IDF’s initial plan was an unwieldy and time-consuming mess, requiring a contingent of a hundred men to storm both high-rise buildings and drive the residents into the street. A sort of police lineup would be held in order to identify the targets, who would then be killed. Lieutenant General David Elazar, the IDF’s chief of staff, had serious doubts about the plan. He asked Ehud Barak, the commander of Sayeret Matkal, the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit of the IDF, for some fresh ideas. Sayeret Matkal was set up in the late 1950s with the aim of creating an elite force capable of clandestine penetration of enemy territory, which “would be trained to carry out combat operations, sabotage, and [intelligence] gathering,” in the words of its establishment order. Until the 1970s, the unit specialized mainly in deep penetrations behind enemy lines in order to install highly sophisticated listening and observation devices. It was and still is considered the best unit in the IDF, always receiving the cream of the new recruits, who then undergo a twentymonth training course, said by some to be the hardest in the world. Ehud Barak, who was the first officer to grow up in the Sayeret, became its commander in 1971. Kibbutz-born, short of stature, but athletic and determined, Barak embodied all the special qualities the unit required. He was also a skilled politician who knew how to handle his superiors, and he was boundlessly ambitious while always maintaining his composure. From the moment he took over command, Barak pushed for Sayeret Matkal to be a bigger part of IDF operations, beyond gathering intelligence behind enemy lines. So when Elazar requested his assistance in planning the Beirut hits, “a look of satisfaction spread across Barak’s face, like the look on the face of a chef starting to cook an extraordinary dish,” one of his officers said. Barak examined the raw intelligence, the plot points on a map of Beirut, the previous hundred-man plan. “Chief, this is no good,” Barak told Elazar. “A force of this size that enters Beirut and that may have to spend a long time there, until the ‘police lineup’ is done, will get involved in exchanges of fire. There could be many fatal casualties, on our side and on theirs. Civilians, too.”

 Elazar asked him, “How would you do it?’ ” Barak replied, “Once we are sure the three targets are at home, we’ll enter the city with a very small force, no more than fifteen men, get to the apartments, break in, shoot them, and pull out. All in a few minutes. With the right planning and means, and appropriate training, we can get in and out before additional enemy forces arrive on the scene. By the time they grasp what’s happened, we’ll be gone. Most important: to maintain the element of surprise.” Elazar smiled and gave Barak the green light to begin planning. — THE PLAN FOR OPERATION Spring of Youth—the Beirut raid—was outlined a few days later. The naval commando unit, Flotilla 13, would land the raiding party on the beach, where Caesarea operatives would be waiting with rented vehicles. The Mossad team would then drive the troops to Verdun Street, where they would take the Fatah leaders by surprise in their apartments, kill them, then slip back to the beach and escape to Israel. At the same time, other commando squads would attack four different targets in Lebanon. It was clear that after the operation it would be very difficult to carry out another one, and therefore the Israelis wanted to hit as many targets as possible. Barak has said that his sense was that Elazar was not confident that the Sayeret would succeed in hitting the three senior PLO men, and that he wanted to “spread the risk [of failing] out with additional objectives.” This was a complex exercise, involving the coordination and integration of different units, so Elazar oversaw some of the training sessions himself. He raised the concern that a group of men moving in the middle of the night through downtown Beirut might arouse suspicion. He suggested that some of the men wear women’s clothing. “This way you’ll also be able to conceal more weapons,” Elazar said with a smile. Some members of the Sayeret did not like their commander involving the unit in an operation that went beyond intelligence gathering. Before the raid, an internal argument broke out. Two of Barak’s officers, Amitai Nahmani and Amit Ben Horin, both kibbutz members of the left-wing Hashomer Hatzair movement, argued that the unit had not been established as a death squad and that they had no intention of becoming assassins. Barak tried to persuade them, but they asked to see a higher authority. Barak set up a meeting with chief of staff Elazar, who spoke to them about the importance of the war on terror and the fact that Jewish blood had been spilled by Fatah in Israel and abroad. He said it was their duty to respond “with force and elegance.” The two accepted the explanation and were assigned to the lead squad. Barak said he saw the argument as “evidence of the unit’s strength. Not only superior professional soldiers, but also men with opinions, men who ask questions, who are not satisfied with the mere command to execute but also demand to know the logic behind it.” While the Sayeret and the Flotilla 13 marine commandos were practicing the landing, Yael and Model continued gathering intelligence. Yael picked a suitable site for the landing—the private beach of the Sands Hotel, chosen because access was restricted to hotel guests and was close to the hotel’s parking lot. Then she wandered through nearby streets, a small woman in a long skirt and sunglasses, carrying a handbag. Yael photographed the raiding party’s entire route—the beach, the streets they’d drive, the telephone junction box they’d probably have to blow up so reinforcements couldn’t be called, the buildings on Verdun Street, the concierge at the entrance. Yael also gathered details about the nearby police station, which was only about six hundred feet from the apartment houses, and the patrols the police conducted and how long it would take them to reach the scene if they were called. Before reporting to the chief of staff that the force was ready to set out, Brigadier General Emmanuel Shaked, chief infantry and paratroop officer and overall commander of the operation, insisted on meeting the Caesarea personnel who were to drive his men from the beach to the objectives and back again. Zamir, Harari, and Romi came with the Caesarea team to meet Elazar, Shaked, and Barak at a Sayeret training facility. Shaked described the meeting as “no less than a catastrophe.” He asked the Caesarea people to introduce themselves and describe their past combat experience. “When’s the last time you had a gun in your hand and used it?” he asked. To his horror, most of them had never held a weapon. Only some of them had even served in the IDF. Those who did have some kind of military training had done only the absolute minimum and lacked any kind of combat skills. Shaked exploded in anger and turned to Zamir, saying, “Get your sparrows out of the room.” Shaked told Harari that he “wasn’t prepared to let the operation go ahead with these people, who aren’t combat troops.” “If they had been combat troops, we wouldn’t have needed the IDF at all,” Harari responded in anger. Elazar intervened and accepted Zamir’s promise that “they are warriors of the highest order in the arena in which they are required to act, to enable the IDF soldiers to do their job.” On April 6, the six Caesarea operatives flew into Beirut from various European airports, carrying counterfeit German, Belgian, and British passports. They checked in separately at the Sands, rented large American-made cars, and parked them in the hotel parking lot. On the afternoon of April 9, the IDF troops were bused to the Israeli Navy base in Haifa. At the final briefing, Shaked told them, “You don’t shoot at your target and leave. You leave the apartment only after you make sure that he won’t get up again.” At 4 P.M., on a calm Mediterranean Sea, eight Israeli missile boats set sail northward. Twelve miles off Beirut, they cut their engines and dropped anchor. At 5 P.M., one of the Caesarea operatives rendezvoused with Yael at the Phoenician Hotel. She confirmed that the three targets were at home. They parted, and the operative radioed the waiting force: “The birds are in their nests.” From the gunwales, nineteen rubber dinghies descended, each loaded with troops: twenty-one from Sayeret Matkal, thirty-four naval commandos, twenty soldiers from the Paratroop Reconnaissance unit. These elite combat units were supported by three thousand additional personnel. It was one of the biggest targeted killing operations of the twentieth century, if not the biggest. Harari, Zamir, Romi, Elazar, and Defense Minister Dayan were in a bunker beneath the Kirya-Sarona, the old Tel Aviv Templer neighborhood that housed the IDF command, monitoring the operation. Also in the Bor—Hebrew for the “Pit,” as the bunker is informally known—was AMAN chief Eli Zeira. He knew that although almost the entire Israeli Navy was mobilized, Spring of Youth was “an operation for which there was no rescue option.” The dinghies glided toward the lights of Beirut. When they reached the beach, the men of Flotilla 13 carried the members of the raiding party onto dry land so that they wouldn’t get wet and their disguises wouldn’t be spoiled—taking extra care with the heavily made-up female impersonators on the team. The Mossad operatives were waiting in the parking lot of the hotel with the vehicles. Barak, who was dressed as one of the women in the team, was in the front seat of one of the three cars. “Go!” he ordered, but nothing happened. The Mossad driver was sweating, his whole body shivering. Barak thought he was either sick or injured. But he was just scared. “I’ve never been anywhere where there’s shooting,” he admitted. “I did a last recon of the area. Two gendarmes armed with submachine guns are patrolling the street near the buildings.” Barak and Muki Betser, a longtime Sayeret fighter, calmed the driver down, lying to him that there’d be no shooting. “Go!” Barak repeated, having decided not to report about the gendarmes to Shaked, who’d stayed on the command missile boat, fearing that he’d call the operation off. The three cars entered the upscale Ramlet al-Bayda neighborhood of Beirut. Two blocks from the target, the team got out and started walking—one man and one man in drag, paired together. It was late, around 11 P.M., but there were still a few people on the street. There were two armed cops standing there, bored, smoking. They ignored the couples who walked past them. Muki Betser had his arm around Barak, the two of them just another couple on a romantic walk. “It reminds me of Rome,” Betser whispered to Barak. In one of the buildings, al-Najjar was asleep. In the other building, in separate apartments, the other two, Adwan and Nasser, were sleeping. At the entrances to the two buildings, the couples separated and the force split up—three details to each of the three targets, and another, under Barak’s command, including a doctor, to cover the street. The PLO guards they were expecting in the lobbies of the apartment blocks had fallen asleep in their cars and, unhindered, the soldiers began climbing the stairs, counting the flights to themselves as they ascended so that they wouldn’t break into the wrong apartments. When each detail reached its objective, the men took up positions and placed small explosive charges next to the door, and each commander clicked three times on his radio mic. When Barak heard the three clicks from each of the three details, he replied with five clicks, which meant “Execute.” At the same time, he signaled to Shaked that the other attacks in various places in Lebanon could begin. Maintaining the element of surprise required that the apartments be breached before they started. The small explosive charges blew the three doors open. A woman who was woken by the pounding feet on the stairs and peeped through the eyehole of her door was killed when the blast blew her door open, too. Al-Najjar came out of his bedroom, grasped what was happening, and tried to shut himself in another room. Betser sprayed the door with automatic fire, killing him and his wife. The second target, Kamal Nasser, hid under his bed and fired his pistol, hitting one of the Israelis in the leg. The raiders turned the bed over, saw Nasser, and killed him with two long bursts of fire. Inside the third apartment, Kamal Adwan stepped out of his door with a loaded AK-47 in his hands but was apparently confused to see what looked like a man and a woman facing him and hesitated for a second. This cost him his life as the Israelis opened fire with Uzi submachine guns hidden under their clothing. At the same time, a PLO guard, who was supposed to be protecting the targets but had fallen asleep in his Renault Dauphine car, woke up and emerged from the car with his pistol drawn. Barak and Amiram Levin, one of his top officers, shot him with their silenced handguns. One bullet hit the car and set off its horn. This woke up the neighbors, who called the police. “More proof that there’s always some new surprise,” Betser says. “The unexpected is the thing that is most expected.” Police from the nearby station were soon speeding toward Verdun Street, where the Israelis were still rifling the apartments for documents. Finally, the raiding parties raced downstairs, almost leaving a man, Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin, behind. Now they had to engage the Beirut police. Levin stood in the middle of the street, his blond wig still on his head, swinging his Uzi left and right, spraying bullets. Barak stood in the road, firing at cops. Betser shot up a police Land Rover and covered Levin. A jeep with four Lebanese soldiers rolled up and screeched into the cross fire. The Israelis shot it, and Betser tossed a grenade at it, killing three of its occupants. The driver was slightly wounded. Yael saw him from her window, sitting on the sidewalk, sobbing for hours before he was taken to the hospital. The assassins held off the police, and the soldiers piled into their rented cars and rushed back to the beach. They scattered sharp little steel tripods behind them, puncturing the tires of police cars that gave chase. Barak got on the radio, calling naval commandos to pick them up. Despite the chaos, he remained composed and was able to separate himself from the moment. “I remember looking in amazement at the streets,” he said. “I had never been in such magnificent streets, I had never seen such beautiful apartment houses. It was a standard of building that we weren’t familiar with in Israel.” The wig made him hot, so he opened the window and felt a cool breeze caress his face. He relaxed. A man ran to the curb, yelling for the car to slow down. “Shoot him, Muki,” he told Betser. “He’s a gas station worker, not a cop.” Betser did not shoot. The second raiding force, the Paratroop Reconnaissance troops who were hitting a building in a different Beirut neighborhood, was less fortunate. They killed the guards at the entrance of the PFLP building they were targeting, but they didn’t know about a second guard post. A Palestinian opened fire, badly wounding three Israeli soldiers. Two of them were evacuated to a waiting car. The third, Yigal Pressler, was hit by fourteen bullets. A naval commando lifted him up and ran toward the car, but a PLFP man, apparently believing Pressler was a Palestinian, tried to rescue him, grappling with the commando. The three fell to the ground in a heap. One of Pressler’s arms was paralyzed, but he managed to cock his pistol with his teeth. The Palestinian ran away. The commando chased after him, and Pressler thought he’d been left alone. He was thinking of blowing himself up with a grenade when the commando came back and picked him up again. The air was exploding with gunfire and explosions and yelling. Lights went on in the neighboring buildings. Rather than withdraw immediately, the squad’s commander, Amnon LipkinShahak, with composure that earned him a citation from the chief of staff, ordered his men to remain and carry out their mission, attaching explosives to the building. “My hardest moment,” said Lipkin-Shahak, “was not during the actual combat, but when we got back to the vehicles. I was surprised to discover that the car with the wounded men wasn’t there.” He and his men, including the badly wounded Pressler, were stuck in the heart of Beirut with only two cars. The third, driven by a Caesarea operative and carrying two of the severely wounded men, had vanished. The radios weren’t working. Hurried searches found nothing. “It was very worrying,” Lipkin-Shahak said. He did not want to withdraw without knowing where his wounded men were, but he had no option. He gave the order to pile into the two cars and head for the beach. Just after they set out, they heard a mighty blast and saw their target building collapse. Later, they learned that some thirty-five PFLP activists were buried in the ruins. When they reached the beach, they found the Caesarea man sitting in his car, two of their comrades in the backseat, one already dead from blood loss. The driver was covered in sweat, smoking a cigarette with trembling fingers. “I asked him what happened,” Lipkin-Shahak said, “why he didn’t wait for us, why he didn’t wait for the unit’s doctor to treat the wounded. He was a little confused, but if I understood him correctly, he heard the gunfire at the beginning of the raid and thought we wouldn’t get out alive, so he decided to get out and go to the beach.” Lipkin-Shahak’s men were enraged. “It was a mistake to let people with no combat experience be involved in this,” one of them said. “That guy from Caesarea saw that we were in trouble and got shell shock. He ran away.” The entire team boarded the dinghies and returned to the missile boat. Another one of the wounded men died during surgery on the boat. Two of the paratroopers couldn’t restrain themselves and began yelling at the Caesarea operative that he was responsible for the deaths of their two comrades. He yelled back. One of the soldiers slapped him, he responded with a punch, and a fight broke out on the deck until the others separated them. But by daybreak, all of the raiders were back in Israel. When Barak got home, his wife, Nava, was still asleep. He put his pack down and lay down next to her, exhausted, with his boots on. When she woke up, she was surprised to find her husband fast asleep at her side, with makeup on his face and traces of bright red lipstick on his lips. The next morning in Beirut, surrounded by the wreckage of the previous night, no one paid attention to the skinny woman who came to the post office on Madame Curie Street. Yael had written a letter to her case officer that showed her trauma over what she had seen from her apartment window. Dear Emile, I’m still shaking from last night. Suddenly in the middle of the night I was woken up by the sound of many very loud explosions….I was panic stricken—the Israelis are attacking!…It was horrible….This morning it all just seemed like a bad dream. But it wasn’t. Those terrible Israelis were really here….For the first time I can see why there’s so much hatred for that country and for the Jews….Really this is such a nice, peaceful, residential area with gentle, very kind people. Yael told “Emile” that she wanted to come see him for a vacation to calm down and that “I do miss you (more than I expected).” In invisible ink, she added, “It was a great show last night. Hats off!” In order to avoid attracting suspicion, Yael remained in Beirut another week, despite the mounting fear that she was liable to be exposed due to the stringent security measures put in place after the raid. “When the plane took off and the wheels left the ground, I relaxed in my seat. I felt the stress of holding my cover character close to every one of my body’s organs and my soul gradually weakening, torn off me piece by piece. When I landed at Heathrow, my arms were flaccid and it was hard to get out of my seat. I needed a few more seconds before I could leave the plane.” Back in Israel, Spring of Youth was considered a dazzling success. All of its objectives had been achieved. Three top PLO officials were killed, along with some fifty others, almost all of them PLO members. Salah Khalaf (Abu Iyad), the supreme commander of Black September, was saved by chance because shortly before the raid he left one of the targeted apartments where he often spent time. Four buildings and workshops for manufacturing weapons were destroyed. The seizure of a large number of documents from Adwan’s apartment was deemed a catastrophe by the Palestinians. They supplied the Shin Bet with details about PLO cells in the occupied territories and led to a number of arrests, effectively wrecking the Fatah network there. Because of this success, no attention was paid in Israel to the unprofessional conduct of the two Mossad drivers, both members of Harari’s elite Caesarea unit, and the fact that they had prevented medical treatment from being given to two men who died of their wounds, and could have caused an even greater disaster. The operation left Lebanon in shock. The Lebanese government resigned because of its impotence in the face of the “Israeli aggression.” The Arab world was in an uproar, and in Egypt, the leading daily, Al-Ahram, commented that the goal of the operation had been “to drive into the Arabs’ hearts the sense that Israel was in control of the region.” Thanks to Spring of Youth, the myth that the Mossad could strike anywhere and at any time began to gain credence in the Arab world.

The ‘Tehran’ series isn’t far-fetched. Israeli agents are operating with ease in Iran.

Atlantic Council

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/iransource/mossad-iran-tsurkov-spies-nuclear-program/

By Arash Azizi

The news was so incredible that it would have made more sense as an episode on the spy thriller series, Tehran. On June 29, Israeli intelligence agency Mossad revealed the details of an operation inside Iran. Its agents, it claimed, had recently interrogated an operative of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who had planned to kill Israeli citizens in Cyprus. Israel had already thanked Cyprus for helping foil this plan. For good measure, Mossad released footage from a video confession of Yusef Shahbazi Abbasalilu along with a boarding pass that had him traveling from Istanbul to Iran. If this is to be believed, Mossad agents operate with such ease in Iran that they are not only able to gather intelligence but arrest and interrogate a regime operative on Iranian soil.

Shahbazi’s confession is quite detailed. He reveals his alleged chain of command and the name of the agent who recruited him. Shahbazi says that he was put in touch with several IRGC contacts in Cyprus who had taken part in assassination operations before (Israeli media have reported these to be Pakistani nationals.) According to his account, Shahbazi entered the island by flying from Turkey to Northern Cyprus (a breakaway state only recognized by Ankara) and then smuggled himself into the Greek-majority southern part of the island. In contact with his handlers in Iran via WhatsApp, Shahbazi was preparing to kill the target—reportedly an Israeli businessman—when he found out that the police were on his tail and was told to bury his weapons and flee. Shahbazi reportedly followed the instructions and made it to Tehran via Istanbul.

 

Mossad’s history in Iran

 

Unlikely as it may sound, it’s not the first time Mossad has claimed to have undertaken such an operation. In fact, this is the third such case in the last eighteen months. In April 2022, Israeli media reported on an alleged Mossad operation on Iranian territory. Israeli intelligence agents had reportedly detained and questioned Mansour Rasouly, a fifty-two-year-old IRGC agent, in his residence in Iran, where he had confessed to a plan to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Turkey, an American general stationed in Germany, and a journalist in France. The Israeli media published an audio file of Rasouly’s confession without revealing their source.

Months later, in July 2022, London-based diaspora satellite channel Iran International claimed that Mossad had interrogated another IRGC official, Yadollah Khedmati, in Iran, publishing the footage of his confessions about the transfer of weaponry to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

In each of the three cases, the Islamic Republic has come back with a different form of denial. In the two cases from 2022, they confirmed that the interrogations had taken place and claimed that they were done by a group of local criminal thugs recruited by Mossad. But in the case of Rasouly, they declared he was a farmer in northwestern Iran with no military connection. However, in the case of Khedmati, they confirmed that he was an IRGC figure (without naming him) but said that he had been forced to confess to untruths under “torture and threats.”

With Shahbazi’s case, state media outlets have taken a different path. They claim that Mossad has fabricated the entire story to overcome its panic following the recent alleged busting of its networks in Iran. In late May, judicial officials had claimed to have nabbed fourteen members of a “terrorist team” with ties to Israel. Par for the course with such claims, no evidence was given to support the charge.

As proof of their allegations about Shahbazi, regime outlets published pictures of tickets and flight manifests that show him to have taken a flight from Tehran to Baku on May 15, implying that the confession was staged and not recorded in Iran. Claiming this to be a smoking gun makes no sense. Shahbazi would have had plenty of time since May 15 to have returned to Iran from Baku and could have traveled later to Cyprus.

The regime outlets also tied the Shahbazi affair to an incident in May, in which the capsizing of a boat in Lake Maggiore in Italy led to the death of Erez Shimony, a fifty-four-year-old former Mossad agent. They went as far as implying that Shimony’s death might have been revenge for another killing that had happened almost exactly a year before: the assassination of IRGC’s Colonel Hassan Seyed Khodaee right outside his home, which, according to a report by the New York Times, was done by Mossad.

But, just as the IRGC downplays Shahbazi’s confession, some sources claim that Iran is working hard for his release by Israelis. According to the London-based and Saudi-owned newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat, Iran is requesting a prisoner exchange from Israel: Shahbazi’s release in return for that of Elizabeth Tsurkov, a Russian-Israeli scholar who was kidnapped in Iraq in March by an Iran-backed Shia militia.

 

The ongoing shadow war

 

For years now, Iran and Israel have been engaged in a shadow war involving intelligence operations, assassinations, and attacks on land and sea. When facing Israel, Iran has the benefit of using its vast network of allied militias in the region. Alongside the operations, a war of narratives also rages on and there is no surprise that both sides employ a game of cloak and daggers.

Nevertheless, even if not all Israeli claims were to be believed, there is no doubt that the ease with which they operate inside Iranian territory is astonishing. Since 2009, Israelis have helped assassinate many officials linked to the IRGC or the country’s nuclear program. Its last major hit was the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading figure of the IRGC, in November 2020, which took place on a road using a robotic machine gun. Prior to that, in January 2018, Mossad was able to raid the Iranian nuclear archives in a village outside Tehran, gaining access to 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs.

On the other side, the Islamic Republic has never been able to retaliate on anything close to a similar scale. This was clearly evident in June of 2022, when Israel worked closely with Turkey to stop an Iranian plan to kill or abduct Israeli civilians in Turkey. Israel went as far as asking all of its thousands of citizens traveling in Turkey to stay in their hotel rooms and not even open the door for food delivery. In the same week, Hossein Taeb, the powerful head of IRGC’s Intelligence Department, was finally dismissed following years of controversy. Taeb had headed the organization from its very inception in 2009 and had come under increasing criticism for all the Israeli operations that kept happening under his watch. The leaking of the Turkey-related plans seems to have been the last straw.

Given the long list of operations that Israel has been able to conduct in Iranian territory, it’s pretty clear that the clerical establishment has failed in its basic task of defending the country. It’s not hard to see why that’s the case. The country’s security forces dedicate most of their energy to oppressing ordinary Iranians and taking random foreign citizens—artists, academics, and journalists—hostage in the hope of using them as bargaining chips. Extracting forced confessions by torture helps the regime with its propaganda purposes but is not a tool for effective counter-espionage.

This was on full display in 2019, when Maziar Ebrahimi, an Iranian businessman based in Iraqi Kurdistan, revealed how he had been tortured into confessing to a role in the assassination of nuclear scientists. Arrested in 2012, Ebrahimi had, under duress, even confessed to traveling to Israel to receive military training. When all of this later turned out to be false, he was released and left the country before sharing his story with BBC Persian.

The amateur methods used by the regime are often so buffoonish to be believable. In 2012, following the execution of Majid Jamali Fashi, an Iranian athlete charged alongside Ebrahimi, the Iranian state broadcaster published an image of his alleged Israeli passport. But journalist Fereshte Ghazi was quickly able to show the source of this image: a Wikipedia template of an Israeli passport had been used with Majid’s picture inserted into it. The basic information on the passport from the Wikipedia template was not even changed.

Thus, the track record of the Islamic Republic’s security apparatus is clear: they can frame and torture their citizens to extract forced confessions but cannot stop numerous Israeli operations on Iranian soil.

Arash Azizi is a writer and scholar based at New York University. He is the author of “The Shadow Commander: Soleimani, the US and Iran’s Global Ambitions.” Follow him on Twitter: @arash_tehran.

Topics Israel Mossad Dubai analysis

The truth about the Mossad | The Mossad | The Guardian


The Mossad

The truth about the Mossad

The recent, outlandish assassination in Dubai may prove the most damaging yet in the Mossad's history of high-profile, bungled operations. How did it squander its reputation for ruthless brilliance?
Thu 18 Feb 2010

Last November, a sharp-eyed Israeli woman named Niva Ben-Harush was alarmed to notice a young man attaching something that looked suspiciously like a bomb to the underside of a car in a quiet street near Tel Aviv port. When police arrested him, he claimed to be an agent of the Mossad secret service taking part in a training exercise: his story turned out to be true – though the bomb was a fake.

No comment was forthcoming from the Israeli prime minister's office, which formally speaks for – but invariably says nothing about – the country's world-famous espionage organisation. The bungling bomber was just a brief item on that evening's local TV news.

There was, however, a far bigger story – one that echoed across the globe – two years ago this week, when a bomb in a Pajero jeep in Damascus decapitated a man named Imad Mughniyeh. Mughniyeh was the military leader of Lebanon's Shia movement Hizbullah, an ally of Iran, and was wanted by the US, France and half a dozen other countries. Israel never went beyond cryptic nodding and winking about that killing in the heart of the Syrian capital, but it is widely believed to have been one of its most daring and sophisticated clandestine operations.

The Mossad, like other intelligence services, tends to attract attention only when something goes wrong, or when it boasts a spectacular success and wants to send a warning signal to its enemies. Last month's assassination of a senior Hamas official in Dubai, now at the centre of a white-hot diplomatic row between Israel and Britain, is a curious mixture of both.

With its cloned foreign passports, multiple disguises, state-of-the-art communications and the murder of alleged arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – one of the few elements of the plot that was not captured on the emirate's CCTV cameras – it is a riveting tale of professional chutzpah, violence and cold calculation. And with the Palestinian Islamist movement now vowing to take revenge, it seems grimly certain that it will bring more bloodshed in its wake.

The images from Dubai follow the biblical injunction (and the Mossad's old motto):"By way of deception thou shalt make war." The agency's job, its website explains more prosaically, is to "collect information, analyse intelligence and perform special covert operations beyond [Israel's] borders."

Founded in 1948 along with the new Jewish state, the Mossad largely stayed in the shadows in its early years. Yitzhak Shamir, a former Stern Gang terrorist and future prime minister, ran operations targeting German scientists who were helping Nasser's Egypt build rockets – foreshadowing later Israeli campaigns to disrupt Iraqi and (continuing) Iranian attempts to acquire nuclear and other weapons.

The Mossad's most celebrated exploits included the abduction of the fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was later tried and hanged in Israel. Others were organising the defection of an Iraqi pilot who flew his MiG-21 to Israel, and support for Iraqi Kurdish rebels against Baghdad. Military secrets acquired by Elie Cohen, the infamous spy who penetrated the Syrian leadership, helped Israel conquer the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war.

It was after that that the service's role expanded to fight the Palestinians, who had been galvanised under Yasser Arafat into resisting Israel in the newly occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The 1970s saw the so-called "war of the spooks" with Mossad officers, operating under diplomatic cover abroad, recruiting and running informants in Fatah and other Palestinian groups. Baruch Cohen, an Arabic speaker on loan to the Mossad from the Shin Bet internal security service, was shot in a Madrid cafe by his own agent. Bassam Abu Sharif, of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was badly disfigured by a Mossad parcel bomb sent to him in Beirut.

Steven Spielberg's 2006 film Munich helped mythologise the Mossad's hunt for the Black September terrorists who massacred 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Eleven of them were eliminated in killings across Europe, culminating in the small Norwegian town of Lillehammer, where a Moroccan waiter was mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, the Munich plot's mastermind. Salameh was eventually killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 1979 – the sort of incident that made Lebanese and Palestinians sit up and notice last year's botched training episode in Tel Aviv.

Some details of the assassination of Mabhouh last month echo elements of the campaign against Black September – which ended with the catastrophic arrest of five Mossad agents. Sylvia Raphael, a South African-born Christian with a Jewish father, was sentenced to five years in a Norwegian prison (of which she served slightly over a year); she may have been among the young Europeans in Israel who were discreetly asked, in nondescript offices in Tel Aviv, if they wished to volunteer for sensitive work involving Israel's security. Other agents who had been exposed had to be recalled, safe houses abandoned, phone numbers changed and operational methods modified.

Over the years, the Mossad's image has been badly tarnished at home as well as abroad. It was blamed in part for failing to get wind of Egyptian-Syrian plans for the devastating attack that launched the 1973 Yom Kippur war. Critics wondered whether the spies had got their priorities right by focusing on hunting down Palestinian gunmen in the back alleys of European cities, when they should have been stealing secrets in Cairo and Damascus. The Mossad also played a significant, though still little-known, role in the covert supply of arms to Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran to help fight Saddam Hussein's Iraq, as part of the Iran-Contra scandal during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

It has, in addition, suffered occasional blows from its own disgruntled employees. In 1990, a Canadian-born former officer called Victor Ostrovsky blew the whistle on its internal organisation, training and methods, revealing codenames including "Kidon" (bayonet), the unit in charge of assassinations. An official smear campaign failed to stop Ostrovsky's book, so the agency kept quiet when another ostensibly inside account came out in 2007. It described the use of shortwave radios for sending encoded transmissions, operations in Iran for collecting soil samples, and joint operations with the CIA against Hezbollah.

But the worst own goal came in 1997, during Binyamin Netanyahu's first term as prime minister. Mossad agents tried but failed to assassinate Khaled Mash'al – the same Hamas leader who is now warning of retaliation for Mabhouh's murder – by injecting poison into his ear in Amman, Jordan. Using forged Canadian passports, they fled to the Israeli embassy, triggering outrage and a huge diplomatic crisis with Jordan. Danny Yatom, the then Mossad chief, was forced to quit. Ephraim Halevy, a quietly spoken former Londoner, was brought back from retirement to clear up the mess.

The Dubai assassination, however, may yet turn out to be far more damaging – not least because the political and diplomatic context has changed in the last decade. Israel's reputation has suffered an unprecedented battering, reaching a new low during last year's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. "In the current climate, the traces left behind in Dubai are likely to lead to very serious harm to Israel's international standing," the former diplomat Alon Liel commented yesterday.

Even though Israel is maintaining its traditional policy of "ambiguity" about clandestine operations, refusing to confirm or deny any involvement in Dubai, nobody in the world seems to seriously question it. That includes almost all Israeli commentators, who are bound by the rules of military censorship in a small and talkative country where secrets are often quite widely known.

It would be surprising if a key part of this extraordinary story did not turn out to be the role played by Palestinians. It is still Mossad practice to recruit double agents, just as it was with the PLO back in the 1970s. News of the arrest in Damascus of another senior Hamas operative – though denied by Mash'al – seems to point in this direction. Two other Palestinians extradited from Jordan to Dubai are members of the Hamas armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam brigades, suggesting treachery may indeed have been involved. Previous assassinations have involved a Palestinian agent identifying the target.

Yossi Melman, the expert on intelligence for Israel's Haaretz newspaper, worries that, as before the 1973 war, the Israeli government may be getting it wrong by focusing on the wrong enemy – the Palestinians – instead of prioritising Iran and Hizbullah.

"The Mossad is not Murder Inc, like the Mafia; its goal is not to take vengeance on its enemies," he wrote this week. "'Special operations' like the assassination in Dubai – if this indeed was a Mossad operation – have always accounted for a relatively small proportion of its overall activity. Nevertheless, these are the operations that give the organisation its halo, its shining image. This is ultimately liable to blind its own ranks, cause them to become intoxicated by their own success, and thus divert their attention from their primary mission."

From an official Israeli point of view, the Mossad has an important job to do. Its reputation for ruthlessness and cunning remains a powerful asset, prompting what sometimes sounds like grudging admiration as well as loathing in the Arab world – where a predisposition for conspiracy theories boosts the effect of the disinformation and psychological warfare at which the Israelis are said to excel.

The government's official narrative, of course, is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation that pioneered horrific suicide bombings, fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian targets and – despite occasional signs of pragmatism or readiness for a temporary truce or prisoner swap – remains dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state. It refuses to admit that its ever-expanding West Bank settlements remains a significant barrier to peace.

In western countries, including Britain, there was widespread anger at the 1,400 Palestinian casualties of the Gaza war. Barack Obama has declared the occupation "intolerable". Netanyahu heads the most rightwing coalition in Israel's history; his famous quip that the Middle East is a "tough neighbourhood" no longer seems to justify playing dirty.

Yet Israelis, and not just those on the right, worry that their very existence as an independent state is being de-legitimised. And, judging by the jobs section of the Mossad website, there are still plenty of opportunities for Israel's wannabe spies: challenging positions are available for researchers, analysts, security officers, codebreakers and other technical work. Speakers of Arabic and Persian are invited to apply to be intelligence officers.The work involves travel abroad and a "young and unconventional" environment.

It is a novelty of this episode that ordinary Israeli citizens are angry that their identities appear to have been stolen by their own government's secret servants – one reason why the Mossad chief Meir Dagan may find his days are numbered. But it is hard not to detect an undercurrent of popular admiration for the killers of Mabhouh. The day after the sensational CCTV images and passport photos were shown, the Israeli tennis champion Shahar Pe'er reached the quarter-finals of a major international competition in the emirate. "Another successful operation in Dubai," the Ynet website headlined its story.

Or Kashti, Haaretz's education correspondent, did not have his passport cloned, but he does bear a striking resemblance to the hit-squad member named as Kevin Daveron. "My mum rang and asked gently if I'd been abroad recently," he wrote. "Friends asked me why I hadn't brought back any cigarettes from the duty free shop in Dubai. I thought I sensed admiring glances in the street. 'Well done,' said an elderly woman who came up to me in the supermarket and clapped me the shoulder. 'You showed those Arabs.'"

• This article was amended on 24 and 25 February 2010. The original misspelled Haaretz's education correspondent as Ofer Kasti. It also said that Sylvia Raphael spent five years in prison in Norway. This has been corrected.

 

The Dark Side of Mossad: Intelligence

silvio gamerra
2024, GAMERRA, S.
International Studies,
Intelligence Studies,
Geopolitics,
Security Studies,
Surveillance Studies
from October 7th to uploads. What happened?
 
The Dark Side of Mossad: Intelligence The events of October 7

The Dark Side of Mossad: Intelligence

The events of October 7th, 2023. (Paragraph 1)

October 7th, is considered the bloodiest day in Isarel’s history and the deadliest for Jews since the Holocaust[1]. About 1200 people were killed, both Israelis and foreigners. Among them 859 civilians about 278 soldiers, 57 policemen and 10 members of Shin Bet, one of the three Israeli Intelligence agencies. 3400 were wounded and 247 soldiers and civilians were taken hostage. All of this was the consequence of a series of coordinated attacks led by Hamas from the Gaza strip into Israel. The attacks began with the launch of 3000 rockets against Israel and powered paraglider incursions into Israeli territory[2]. At the same time Hamas issued a called to arms for Muslims everywhere to launch an attack. These attacks were the results of events occurring over the course of 2023. 247 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces and 39 Israelis had been killed by Palestinians. Israeli settlers had displaced large numbers of Palestinians, and this led to clashes around the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Tensions between Israel and Palestine were at an all-time high[3].

 

Surveillance in the Gaza Strip (paragraph 2)

The Gaza strip is one of the most heavily locked-down, surveilled and suppressed areas in the world. Israel’s digital espionage industry is highly developed and extremely aggressive[4]. All electronic communications are monitored; every phone call is monitored; readers detect movement; there are remote control machine guns everywhere. Israelites also used facial recognition and spyware to monitor anyone who could be connected to Hamas and to restrict the movements of Palestinians in general. And yet on October the 7th, Hamas fighters crossed the border into Israel without any difficulty whatsoever, rampaged through Israeli communities, abducted woman, and children, taking control of eight Israeli military bases, capturing, and killing Israeli soldiers and finally returning over the border with their hostages and meeting absolutely no resistance. The whole event was documented by the fighters themselves using smartphones[5].

What went wrong? (Paragraph 3)

There are three major theories[6]:

  1. that massed failed;
  2. that it was a LIHOP operation;
  3. that it was a MIHOP operation

The first theory is that the October 7th attacks indicate an enormous intelligence failure by Mossad, the IDF and Shin Bet. This is the theory put forward by Israeli herself. Israel believes that so much intelligence is coming in from so many different sources that it is practically impossible to organize and process the information. After all, Hamas members are always talking about plans to attack Israel, so Israel cannot respond using force to every threat. That would mean that Israel would always be at war or in a constant state of alert. According to this theory Israel was distracted by domestic issues and by relations with Saudi Arabia and was simply not prepared for this type of complex attack, prepared over many months. There is evidence that Hamas is not as low-tech as Israel believed. For example, Hamas operatives have used fake Facebook accounts to persuade Israeli soldiers to download data-stealing apps and have also used fake dating apps to install spyware. It is very possible that some of the information used to plan these attacks came from these sources. If we add to all of this the fact that the IDF has recently been suffering a brain drain with potential employees, such as software engineers and semiconductor engineers, deciding that they can earn more money working in the civilian market for companies such as Intel and Apple, then you have a recipe for disaster. Many, however, are not convinced; Israel, they say, has had such vast experience of terror threats that they simply refuse to entertain the idea that her intelligence forces were caught off guard;

The second theory is the Let It Happen On Purpose (LIHOP) theory. According to this theory Israel knew full well that an attack of this type was imminent. In July of 2023, a member of the Israel Signals Intelligence Unit informed her bosses that Hamas was making preparations for a massive attack. Israeli officials were in possession of an approximately forty-page document code – named “Jericho Wall”, which described, in great detail, exactly the kind of attack which happened on October 7th. It is clear from this document that Hamas knew the location and size of Israel military forces and communications hubs. Many Israeli military intelligence leaders read Jericho Wall but rejected it. In addition to this, the US Intelligence community also warned of an increased risk of attack. On September 28, streams of intelligence suggested that Hamas was preparing to escalate rocket attacks across the border. On October 5 the CIA warned of an increased possibility of violence by Hamas. Finally, on October 6, the day before the attack, US officials claimed that an attack was imminent. Israel was also allegedly warned[7] by Egypt three days before the attack that something big was being planned from Gaza but Netanyahu has denied this.

Why would Israel ignore such warnings (paragraph 4)

This is the so – called LIHOP theory. According to this theory, the Israelis lost patience with the Palestinian hostility to the two-state solution. We must remember that the hostility stretches back over one hundred years. Throughout the twentieth century, two powerful movements gained strength. The first was Palestinian nationalism; the second was Zionism which was taking hold in Europe. Unfortunately, the British and French promised the same land to both groups of people, in return for military support during World War I. The solution, after the collapse of the Ottoman empire, was to divide the land into two states, Palestine and Israel. Jerusalem would be an international zone. The Jews accepted this solution but the Arabs saw it as colonisation and the stealing of land. They declared war on Israel in 1948 but Israel won, taking control of West Jerusalem and a lot of Palestine. Since then, the area has been in a constant state of turmoil (agitation), aggravated by the mass immigration of Jews during and following World War II, with few periods of relative peace. In 1967, Israel seized (appropriate) the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza and all of Jerusalem after the Six Day War. No accord has had a permanent positive effect, as all solutions are rejected by extremist groups on both sides. Anwar Sadat was assassinated by his own military following the Camp David Accords, while Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Zionists extremist following the Oslo Accord in 1993. It became clear to all that the two-state approach was dead in the water. Negotiation did not work and, even if (anche se) the PLO had become more compromise-minded, a breakaway group had formed. It was called Hamas and was dedicated to the destruction of Israel. More and more Israelis started to believe that the only solution was to wipe (cancellare) Palestine and the Palestinians off the face of the planet. But, in order to do this, they need an excuse and, according to the proponents of the LIHOP theory, October 7th gave them the excuse they needed. This is why Israeli intelligence and defence forces stood down (do no react) and let it happen.

According to the Washington Post, Hamas exists because of Israeli funding. Israel considered Hamas to be a lesser evil (il male minore) compared to the “PLO”. For this reason, they funded Hamas in an attempt to divide Palestinians. Brig General Yitzhak Segev, the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s, told a New York Times reporter that he had helped to finance Hamas as a counterweight (balance) to the PLO and that he used Israeli taxpayers’ money (tasse degli israeliani) to do so.

The MIHOP theory claims (sostiene) that, because Hamas is, in part, an Israeli creation, Israel is behind the October 7th attacks and the terrorists were acting on Israeli orders. It must be said, however, that there is precious little evidence to back up this theory.

Where do we go from here? (Paragraph 5)

It is difficult to envisage a solution to the problem of the Israel-Palestine conflict because it is an ideological problem to which any political solution is certain to fail.

On one hand, the Palestinians and their supporters believe that the land belongs (appartiene) to them, given that they have lived there for many centuries.

On the other hand, the Israelis and Zionists Christians, generally Protestants, use the Bible and, specifically, Chapter 11 of the book of Isaiah, to claim that the “Chosen People” have the right to settle in and occupy the Holy Land. The traditional view of the Catholic Church is that Isaiah 11 is not to be taken literally but rather (piuttosto) refers to the Jews becoming believers in Christ in the so-called “End Times”. The Vatican is, however, not taking sides in the conflict. These ideologies are irreconcilable (non si possono riconciliare) and a diplomatic solution will be enormously difficult and perhaps (forse) impossible to find. Given that the US and Western Europe generally espouse (adopted) the Zionist view, while other superpowers with nuclear capabilities are coming down on the side of the Palestinians, the world finds itself in perhaps the most critical crisis of its history.   

[1] Wired: Israel’s failure to stop the Hamas Attack Shows the danger of too much surveillance.

[2] Id

[3] Id

[4] Id

[5] Id

[6] Wired: Israel’s failure to stop the Hamas Attack Shows the danger of too much surveillance.

[7] Si dice che hanno ammonito

 —

The Wrong Identification Of A Target Is Not A Failure

THE RESOUNDING SUCCESS OF Operation Spring of Youth did not mean a letup in the string of Mossad targeted killings in Europe. In the final days of preparation for the Beirut raid, Meiri and another operative were in Paris, waiting for Basil al-Kubaisi, a law professor at Beirut University and a low-level activist in the PFLP, to finish with a prostitute before they shot him dead. (“I decided that, just as they give a condemned man a last request, this guy also deserved some sex before he died,” Meiri related.) Then, only hours after the Spring of Youth forces returned to Israel, Harari, Meiri, and five additional operatives traveled to Athens, where they killed Zaid Muchassi with a bomb planted in the mattress of his hotel bed. Muchassi had just been appointed the Fatah representative in Cyprus, where he replaced Hussein Abd al-Chir—whom the Mossad also had killed, on January 24, with a bomb in a Nicosia hotel mattress. On June 10, information came in indicating that Wadie Haddad had sent two of his men to Rome, to carry out an attack on the El Al airline office. The information came from a Junction agent deep inside Haddad’s organization. This new and promising recruit, who would be described in AMAN’s annual report as “an outstanding source with excellent and exclusive access to the Haddad organization,” and who agreed to spy in exchange for money, was given the code name Itzavon, Hebrew for “Sadness.” A team commanded b

………………………

THE RESOUNDING SUCCESS OF Operation Spring of Youth did not mean a letup in the string of Mossad targeted killings in Europe. In the final days of preparation for the Beirut raid, Meiri and another operative were in Paris, waiting for Basil al-Kubaisi, a law professor at Beirut University and a low-level activist in the PFLP, to finish with a prostitute before they shot him dead. (“I decided that, just as they give a condemned man a last request, this guy also deserved some sex before he died,” Meiri related.) Then, only hours after the Spring of Youth forces returned to Israel, Harari, Meiri, and five additional operatives traveled to Athens, where they killed Zaid Muchassi with a bomb planted in the mattress of his hotel bed. Muchassi had just been appointed the Fatah representative in Cyprus, where he replaced Hussein Abd al-Chir—whom the Mossad also had killed, on January 24, with a bomb in a Nicosia hotel mattress. On June 10, information came in indicating that Wadie Haddad had sent two of his men to Rome, to carry out an attack on the El Al airline office. The information came from a Junction agent deep inside Haddad’s organization. This new and promising recruit, who would be described in AMAN’s annual report as “an outstanding source with excellent and exclusive access to the Haddad organization,” and who agreed to spy in exchange for money, was given the code name Itzavon, Hebrew for “Sadness.” A team commanded by “Carlos,” a Bayonet operative, began following the two men, who were driving around Rome in a Mercedes with German registration plates. On the night of June 16–17, the Bayonet team planted a bomb under the car. In the morning, when one of the Palestinian men got into the car and started to drive away, he was followed by a Mossad car, with Harari driving and Carlos in the passenger seat, holding a remote control the size of a shoebox. In order for the bomb to be detonated, a minimal distance between the vehicles had to be maintained. After a few minutes, the Palestinian man in the car stopped to pick up his partner, who was staying at another address, and then drove off again. Carlos was about to push the button exactly when the car entered the Piazza Barberini, site of the Triton Fountain, an important work by the famous sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Harari knew Rome well from the days after World War II when he was working to help refugees immigrate to Israel, and he was someone who appreciated art. “No! Stop! The statue…It’s Bernini! Do not detonate!” he yelled at a confused Carlos, then proceeded to explain the importance of the work to him. A few seconds later, when the car carrying the two Palestinians had moved away from the fountain, the button was pressed. The front part of the car exploded and the two men were very badly injured. One later died in the hospital. Police found weapons in the car and interpreted the explosion as a “work accident,” assuming the two were terrorists who had a bomb in the car and had handled it incorrectly. “Sadness” also reported on the activities of Mohammed Boudia, the head of PFLP operations in Europe. Boudia was a colorful combination of Algerian revolutionary, bisexual bohemian playboy, adventurer, and arch-terrorist who worked for both Haddad and Black September. The small theater he ran in Paris, Théâtre de l’Ouest, was used as a cover for his plans to attack Israelis and Jews. Thanks to Sadness’s reports, the Shin Bet managed to thwart some of his plans before they were executed. One was for simultaneous explosions of powerful TNT bombs in Tel Aviv’s seven biggest hotels on the Seder night of Passover 1971. During June 1973, Sadness reported that Boudia was plotting another big attack. A team of thirty Bayonet and Rainbow operatives followed him the length of Paris before an opportunity arose, when he parked his car in Rue des Fossés-SaintBernard, in the Latin Quarter. When he came back and started it again, a pressuresensitive bomb placed under the seat of his car exploded and killed him. Bayonet’s string of triumphs instilled a sense of euphoria throughout the whole organization. “It seemed as if there was nothing the Mossad couldn’t do,” said a Caesarea veteran, “and that there was no one we couldn’t reach.” That said, the reckoning with Black September remained open. Nine months after the horrific slaughter in Munich—the attack that had triggered the uptick in targeted killings—senior members of Black September were still at large. The Mossad had killed a lot of people, but not the eleven men it wanted most. These included the three surviving participants of the operation, who had been imprisoned but then sprung after Black September hijacked a Lufthansa plane and forced the Germans to release them. The other eight had been marked by the Mossad as tied to the conception, command, or execution of the attack. At the top of that list was Ali Hassan Salameh, Black September’s operations officer. Ali Salameh’s father, Hassan Salameh, had been one of the two commanders of the Palestinian forces in 1947 when war broke out after the UN decision on the establishment of Israel. The Haganah had repeatedly tried and failed to assassinate him, until he was finally killed in combat. His son carried a heavy burden. “I wanted to be myself, [but]…I was constantly conscious of the fact that I was the son of Hassan Salameh and had to live up to that, even without being told how the son of Hassan Salameh should live,” Ali Salameh said in one of the only two interviews he ever gave. “My upbringing was politicized. I lived the Palestinian cause, at a time when the cause was turning in a vicious circle. They were a people without a leadership. The people were dispersed, and I was part of the dispersion. My mother wanted me to be another Hassan.” But by the mid-1960s, the pressure from Ali’s family, together with Yasser Arafat, was enough. Ali gave in and presented himself at the Fatah recruitment office. “I became very attached to Fatah,” he recalled. “I had found what I was looking for.” “He very quickly became Arafat’s favorite,” said Harari. In 1968, he was sent to Egypt by Arafat, for training in intelligence and the operation of explosives. He became an assistant to Abu Iyad, who assigned him to oversee the identification and liquidation of Arabs who collaborated with Israelis. Salameh was young, charismatic, wealthy, and handsome, and enjoyed the high life that went hand in hand with membership in Rasd, the secret intelligence arm of Fatah. He combined his love of women and parties with his terrorist activities in a manner that “raised eyebrows in Fatah,” according to an Israeli military intelligence report on him. The Mossad believed that Salameh had been involved in a long list of terror attacks, some against Jordan and some against Israel, including the hijacking of the Sabena airliner. Documents seized in al-Najjar’s apartment in Beirut indicated that Salameh’s responsibilities included liaising with European terrorist organizations, and that he had invited Andreas Baader, co-founder of the German BaaderMeinhof Gang, to a Palestinian training camp in Lebanon. “We showed the documents to the Germans,” said Shimshon Yitzhaki, head of the Mossad’s counterterror unit, “to make it clear to them that the danger of Palestinian terror was their concern as well.” There is no disagreement about these charges, but the Mossad was also convinced that Salameh was implicated in the planning and execution of the Munich massacre, and that he had even been present not far from the scene when the terror squad was dispatched to Connollystrasse 31 in the Olympic Village. However, Mohammed Oudeh (Abu Daoud) maintained that Salameh wasn’t involved at all and that he, Oudeh, planned and commanded the operation. Doubts about Salameh’s role were also raised in two books on the subject, Kai Bird’s The Good Spy and Aaron Klein’s Striking Back. But to this day, Yitzhaki remains confident: “The fact that Abu Daoud, years after the event, when Salameh was no longer alive, wanted to take all the credit for himself makes no difference. Ali Salameh was not present when the attack went down in Munich, but he was involved in the deepest manner possible in the planning, recruitment of personnel, and perpetration of that shocking murder.” In any case, Salameh was a marked man. “Ali Hassan Salameh was the numberone target,” Harari said. “We hunted him for a long time.” The Mossad had only one recent photograph of him, though, which they used, without success, to try to locate him. Information about him took Bayonet operatives to Hamburg, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Stockholm, and other European cities. Each time, they seemed to have missed him by moments. The breakthrough came in mid-July 1973, after an Algerian named Kemal Benamene, who was working for Fatah and had links with Black September, left his apartment in Geneva for a flight to Copenhagen and waited for him there. The Mossad had reason to believe he was planning an attack with Salameh, and he was followed. If they could stick close to Benamene, the Israelis reasoned, they would reach Salameh and be able to kill him. The Caesarea men trailing Benamene saw that he didn’t leave Copenhagen airport, but instead went to the area for passengers in transit and then immediately boarded a flight to Oslo. From there he took a train to Lillehammer. The whole time, he was followed by Mossad operatives. Harari and Romi concluded that he was going to meet their target in the sleepy Norwegian town. Commandeering personnel from two Bayonet teams engaged in missions elsewhere in Europe, Harari rapidly formed a task force. The team of twelve was headed by Nehemia Meiri and comprised a mixture of trained assassins and other operatives and Caesarea staffers who knew Norwegian and were available for the job. One of these team members was Sylvia Rafael, the operative who traveled the Arab world posing as an anti-Israeli Canadian photojournalist named Patricia Roxburgh and gathered much valuable information on the armies in the region. Other members of the squad included Avraham Gehmer, who had been Rafael’s training officer; Dan Arbel, a Danish-Israeli businessman who occasionally took part in Mossad operations in Arab countries, helping with logistics and renting cars and apartments; and Marianne Gladnikoff, an immigrant from Sweden and former Shin Bet employee who had just recently joined the Mossad but who spoke Scandinavian languages fluently. — WHAT HAPPENED NEXT IS a matter of some dispute. In one version, likely the most accurate, the Caesarea surveillance team lost Benamene’s trail in Lillehammer. They then began using the “combing method,” a technique Meiri helped devise in the 1950s when he was looking for KGB agents in Israel, which enabled the search team to cover large urban areas and quickly locate their target’s position. After a day’s search, they zeroed in on a man sitting with a group of Arabs in a café in the center of the town. He looked, they thought, exactly like the man in the photograph of Salameh they were carrying, “like two brothers look like each other,” General Aharon Yariv, the former head of AMAN who was now Prime Minister Meir’s adviser on counterterrorism, later said. In another version, the man identified as Salameh was not just sitting with some unknown Arabs in a café, but was actually spotted in a meeting with known Fatah activists. In this version, then, the Israelis saw that the suspect was associating with other known terrorists, and thus they had an additional indication, apart from the photograph, that this was most likely the man they were looking for. Either way, a report that Salameh had been positively identified was transmitted to the Mossad HQ, on Shaul Hamelech Street in Tel Aviv. But Harari was told that it was not possible for him to speak to the director, Zvi Zamir, because he had decided to travel to Lillehammer himself in order to be there when the hit was carried out. Harari instructed his team to continue with the surveillance. They soon discovered that the man they thought was Salameh lived a quiet life in Lillehammer. He had a blond Norwegian girlfriend who was heavily pregnant. He went to the movies and to an indoor pool in town. He didn’t betray any of the skittishness or caution of a man concerned that the Mossad might be looking for him. Marianne Gladnikoff purchased a swimsuit and went to the pool to watch and observe him. What she saw only made her question whether this man really was the most wanted Palestinian terrorist after all. She was not the only one. But when Gladnikoff and others expressed their doubts to Harari—who in turn discussed them with Zamir, already in Oslo, en route to Lillehammer—they were dismissed. “We told them that we thought this wasn’t our man,” an operative nicknamed Shaul said. “But Mike and Zvika [Zamir] said it made no difference. They said, ‘Even if it isn’t Salameh, it’s clear that he’s some other Arab with connections to terrorists. So even if we don’t hit Salameh, the worst we’d do is kill a less important terrorist, but still a terrorist.” Harari had his own opinion: “Seven operatives make a positive identification between the photograph and the man we’d seen in the street, and only a minority think it wasn’t him. You have to decide, and you go with the majority. The easiest thing is to say ‘Don’t pull the trigger,’ but that way you’ll end up doing nothing.” The target was kept under observation. In a phone call on Saturday, July 21, Zamir, who had not managed to get the train to Lillehammer, ordered Harari to proceed with the hit. That night, the man and his girlfriend left their apartment and took a bus to a movie theater. The Bayonet team, in vehicles and on foot, did not let them out of their sight. At about 10:30, the couple left the theater and took the bus home. When they got off the bus, a gray Volvo stopped nearby, and Shaul and Y., another operative, got out. The two drew silenced Beretta pistols and shot the man eight times before running back to the car and making off. They left the woman, who was not hit, kneeling over their victim, screaming as she cradled his bloody head. The hit men drove to a prearranged meeting place, where some of the other team members and Mike Harari were waiting. Shaul reported that the job was a success, but added that they had seen a woman who had witnessed the killing write down the Volvo’s license number as they drove away. Harari told the logistics man, Arbel, to park the car on a side street and toss the keys into a storm drain. Then Arbel and Gladnikoff were to take a train to Oslo and fly to London and then Israel. The other operatives were to wait in rented apartments for a few hours and then fly out as well. Meanwhile, Harari and the two assassins would drive south to Oslo, where they would take a ferry to Copenhagen. Shaul and Y. took separate flights out of Denmark. Harari boarded a plane for Amsterdam, confident, flush with success. Salameh’s elimination was the final rung on the ladder of Harari’s climb to the directorship of the Mossad once Zamir’s term ended. Only in Amsterdam, while watching the news on TV, did he finally understand that a catastrophe had just occurred. — THE MAN THE ISRAELIS killed in Lillehammer was not Ali Hassan Salameh, but Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan working as a waiter and cleaning man at the swimming pool. He was married to a woman named Torill, who was seven months pregnant. She described what happened: All of a sudden, my husband fell. I did not understand what had happened, and then I saw those two men. They were three, four meters away from us. One of them was the driver of the car, and the second was his passenger. They stood outside the car, on both sides, firing pistols. I fell flat on the ground, sure they wanted to kill me, too, and that I would die in a moment. But then I heard the car doors slam and it drove away. My husband didn’t shout….I got up and ran as fast as I could to the nearest house and told them to call the police and an ambulance. When I got back, there were already people around my husband trying to help him. An ambulance came and I drove with my husband to the hospital, and there they told me he was dead. Mossad chief Zamir tried to dismiss the disaster: “Not one of us has the means of making only correct decisions. Wrong identification of a target is not a failure. It’s a mistake.” Zamir placed some of the blame on the victim’s conduct: “He behaved in a manner that seemed suspicious to our people who were following him. He made a lot of journeys, the aim of which it is difficult to know. He may have been dealing in drugs.” Meiri was not at the scene because he’d torn a ligament the day before and had been sent back to Israel by Harari. In his version of events, Bouchiki was seen meeting with known Fatah operative Kemal Benamene. He insisted the operation was therefore still a success. “It angers me that it is seen as a failure,” he said. “What difference does it make if I kill the arch-murderer or his deputy?” But there’s no substantive evidence that Bouchiki was anyone’s deputy. In truth, he had no connection at all to terrorism, and the Lillehammer affair was nothing but the cold-blooded murder of an innocent pool attendant. And Bayonet’s problems were just beginning. According to Shaul, while waiting for the hit to go down, Dan Arbel had bought a faucet and a few other items for a house he was building in Israel. He put them in the trunk of the gray Volvo—the car Harari later told him to dump because a witness had gotten the plate number. But Arbel didn’t want to carry his rather heavy purchases, so instead of getting rid of the Volvo, he drove it to the airport in Oslo with Gladnikoff. The police were waiting at the rental car return at the airport. Arbel broke down fairly quickly under interrogation because of his claustrophobia. “Only after the operation,” Shaul said, “did we read in Arbel’s file [about] his fear of closed places and how apprehensive he was about getting caught and interrogated. It was very unprofessional behavior on Caesarea’s part. A man writes an honest report and no one reads it. If they had read it, he would have been suspended immediately from operational duties.” Arbel told the police where to find Avraham Gehmer and Sylvia Rafael, and a search of their hideout led to the capture of two more operatives. It was already clear to the Norwegians that this was a targeted killing and the Mossad was behind it. Documents found on the detainees (which the operatives were supposed to have destroyed after reading them) led to the discovery all across Europe of safe houses, collaborators, communications channels, and operational methods. The information also helped the Italian and French security authorities with their investigations into targeted killings that had been carried out in their countries. The six detainees were put on trial, making headlines all across the globe and causing extreme discomfort in Israel. Particularly embarrassing was that Arbel had given up everything, even the phone number of Mossad HQ in Tel Aviv. Israel did not admit that it was responsible for killing Bouchiki, but the state provided legal defense and other assistance for the prisoners. The court found that the Mossad was behind the murder. Five of the six were found guilty and sentenced to prison terms ranging from one to five and a half years, but they were all released after serving only short periods because a secret agreement was reached between the governments of Israel and Norway. Upon their release from prison, they were greeted as returning heroes in Israel. Harari and Zamir kept their jobs, although the snafu probably cost Harari his dream of becoming head of the Mossad. “Lillehammer was a real failure all down the line, from those who tailed the target to the shooters, from the Mossad to the State of Israel,” said Caesarea veteran Moti Kfir. “By a miracle, precisely those who were truly responsible for what happened came out of it without any harm.” That miracle was Golda Meir, the Mossad’s greatest fan. Harari claimed that he and Zamir acknowledged their responsibility for the debacle and that “we offered our immediate resignations to Golda. She wouldn’t hear of it. She said there were important things to be done, that we were needed, and that we must stay.” During the weeks afterward, while Harari was trying to get his people out of jail, the prime minister invited him to her modest apartment in north Tel Aviv and, Harari said, she “made me tea in her kitchen and tried really hard to cheer me up.” Still, the failure in Lillehammer led to a much more cautious Caesarea policy. On September 4, Harari was in charge of a wide-ranging operation by Caesarea and Rainbow in Rome, tracking a Black September squad headed by Amin alHindi, another of the figures on the list of eleven Israel wanted to kill because of their roles in the Munich massacre. This squad was acting on behalf of the Libyan ruler, Muammar Qaddafi, who had equipped them with six SA-7 Strela shoulderlaunched antiaircraft missiles, with which they were planning to shoot down an El Al airliner just after it took off from Fiumicino Airport. Harari and his team followed them as they transported the missiles to an apartment in Ostia, a suburb of Rome that was “a catapult shot from the runway,” in Harari’s words. They intended to fire the missiles from the roof of the building. In a nearby playground, sitting on a lawn with kids playing around their mothers, Harari and Zamir sat and argued with Meiri, who pleaded, “Let me go in. I’ll knock them all off in a minute and take the missiles.” But after the Lillehammer fiasco, Zamir was wary. Over Meiri’s vociferous objections, Zamir said, “Nehemia, not this time. We’ll inform Italian intelligence and let them take care of it.” “And what’ll we get out of that?” Meiri asked. “The Arabs will hijack an Italian plane or threaten them some other way, and they’ll let these guys go.” “If an El Al plane was in immediate danger, then we’d blow up not only the apartment but the whole building, but there are still many hours before they’re planning to fire the missiles,” Harari responded. “Besides, when we blasted Hamshari, we knew the bomb would hit only the lamp and the desk and his head, but here? How can I let you start a gunfight in a six-story building when I don’t know who their neighbors are and who else is likely to get hurt? Perhaps the prime minister of Italy lives in the apartment across the hall? Perhaps the prime minister’s grandmother?” Meiri wasn’t persuaded. His fury soared when Zamir ordered him to be the Mossad representative to go with the Italian police and point out the apartment, because he was the one who knew how to speak Italian best. “If they see me, I’ll be burned, and I’ll never be able to take part in another op,” Meiri complained. Harari tried to calm him. “Don’t worry, Nehemia. There are some excellent plastic surgeons in Israel. We’ll give you a new face, even better than the one you’ve got now. Go show them where the apartment is.” The Italians arrested all the members of al-Hindi’s squad, but, exactly as Meiri had predicted, they were freed after three months because of pressure from Qaddafi. Bayonet was in effect disbanded because of the Lillehammer affair. The fake Italian passport Meiri had used for the operation was exposed during the investigation by the Norwegian police, and his travels abroad were severely curtailed. He left the Mossad shortly afterward.

Rise and Kill First

Mr Rabbit Señor conejo

763 Pages
Book History,
Bestsellers,
Book History (History),
Ebooks,
Book Reviews
 ...more ▾
The best book of the Israel & Mossad history
 
Israel's Targeted Assassinations
by Ronen Burgman
If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first. THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN, PORTION 72, VERSE 1
If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first. THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN, PORTION 72, VERSE 1
In Blood and Fire
If dome one comes to kill uou, rise and and kill him first
 
THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN,
PORTION 72, VERSE 1
A Note on the Sources
THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY guards its secrets jealously.
Its near-total opacity is protected by a complex array of laws and protocols, strict military censorship, and the intimidation, interrogation,
and prosecution of journalists and their sources, as well as a natural solidarity and loyalty among the espionage agencies’ personnel.
All glimpses behind the scenes have, to this day, been partial at best. How then, it might reasonably be asked,
to write a book about one of the most secretive organizations on earth? Efforts to persuade the Israeli defense establishment to cooperate with
the research for this project went nowhere. Requests to the intelligence community that it comply with the law by
transferring its historical documents to the State Archive and allowing publication of materials fifty years old or more were met with stony silence.
A petition to the Supreme Court for an order forcing compliance with the law was dragged out over years, with the complicity of the court,
and ended with nothing but an amendment to the law itself: The secrecy provisions were extended from fifty to seventy years, longer than the history of the state.
The defense establishment did not merely sit with folded arms. As early as 2010, before the contract for this book was even signed,
a special meeting was held in the Mossad’s operations division, Caesarea, to discuss ways of disrupting my research.
Letters were written to all former Mossad employees warning them against giving interviews, and individual conversations were held with certain ex-
staffers who were considered the most problematic. Later in 2011, the chief of the General Staff of the IDF, Lieutenant General Gabi
Ashkenazi, asked the Shin Bet to take aggressive steps against the author, claiming that I had perpetrated
“aggravated espionage” by having in my possession classified secrets and “using classified material in order to disparage me [Ashkenazi] personally.” Since then
 
 
The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (Hebrewהמוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדיםromanizedha-Mosád le-Modiʿín u-le-Tafkidím Meyuḥadím), popularly known as Mossad[a] (UK/ˈmɒsæd/ MOSS-adUS/mˈsɑːd/ moh-SAHD), is the national intelligence agency of the State of Israel. It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security).

History

Mossad was formed on December 13, 1949, as the Central Institute for Coordination at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army's intelligence department (AMAN), the Internal Security Service (Shin Bet), and the Political Intelligence Service (Mossad).[2][3][4] The central body governing the three security services was Va'adat;[4] today it is the Ministry of Intelligence.[5]

In March 1951, it was reorganized and incorporated into the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the Prime Minister of Israel.[3] Due to Mossad's accountability directly to the prime minister and not to the Knesset, journalist Ronen Bergman has described Mossad as a "deep state".[6]

In the 1990s, Aliza Magen-Halevi became the highest-ranking woman in Mossad's history when she served as the agency's deputy director under Shabtai Shavit and Danny Yatom.[7]

The Mossad made an unusual move on Israel's 68th Independence Day by releasing a secret recruitment ad for its Cyber Division. The ad featured seemingly random letters and numbers, which turned out to be a hidden puzzle. Over 25,000 people attempted to solve it, and while most failed, dozens succeeded and were recruited.[8] In a rare 2012 interview with "Lady Globes," Mossad fighters talked about the recruitment of men and women to the Mossad, the screening tests, their work in the Mossad alongside starting a family, the relationship between the time to prepare for the actions and the actions themselves, working in teams, the emotional intelligence required of them, the nature of the activity, avoiding fame and omnipotence, and conversations with enemies.[9]

 

Rise and Kill First

Mr Rabbit Señor conejo


763 Pages

The best book of the Israel & Mossad history

 

Israel's Targeted Assassinations

by Ronen Burgman

If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.  THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN, PORTION 72, VERSE 1

In Blood and Fire

 

Contents

 

Epigraph

 

 

If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.

THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN, PORTION 72, VERSE 1

 

A Note On The Sources#

THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY guards its secrets jealously. Its near-total  opacity is protected by a complex array of laws and protocols, strict military  censorship, and the intimidation, interrogation, and prosecution of journalists and  their sources, as well as a natural solidarity and loyalty among the espionage  agencies’ personnel.

All glimpses behind the scenes have, to this day, been partial at best.

How then, it might reasonably be asked, to write a book about one of the most  secretive organizations on earth?

Efforts to persuade the Israeli defense establishment to cooperate with the  research for this project went nowhere. Requests to the intelligence community  that it comply with the law by transferring its historical documents to the State  Archive and allowing publication of materials fifty years old or more were met  with stony silence. A petition to the Supreme Court for an order forcing  compliance with the law was dragged out over years, with the complicity of the  court, and ended with nothing but an amendment to the law itself: The secrecy  provisions were extended from fifty to seventy years, longer than the history of the  state.

The defense establishment did not merely sit with folded arms. As early as  2010, before the contract for this book was even signed, a special meeting was  held in the Mossad’s operations division, Caesarea, to discuss ways of disrupting

my research. Letters were written to all former Mossad employees warning them  against giving interviews, and individual conversations were held with certain ex-  staffers who were considered the most problematic. Later in 2011, the chief of the

General Staff of the IDF, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, asked the Shin Bet  to take aggressive steps against the author, claiming that I had perpetrated  “aggravated espionage” by having in my possession classified secrets and “using  classified material in order to disparage me [Ashkenazi] personally.” Since then,  several actions have been taken by various bodies to stop publication of the book,

or at least large parts of it.

The military censor requires the Israeli media to add the words “according to  foreign publications” whenever it mentions secret actions attributed to Israeli  intelligence, primarily targeted assassinations. This is to make it clear that the  existence of the publication does not constitute official acknowledgment of Israel’s  responsibility. In this sense, then, this book must be taken as a “foreign

publication” whose contents do not have any official Israeli confirmation.

None of the thousand interviews upon which this book is based—with sources  ranging from political leaders and chiefs of intelligence agencies to the operatives  themselves—were approved by Israel’s defense establishment. Most of the sources  are identified by their names. Others understandably feared being identified and  are therefore referred to by their initials or nicknames, in addition to any details

about them I was able to provide while still keeping their identities secret.

I have also made use of thousands of documents given to me by these sources,  all of which are referenced for the first time here. My sources never received  permission to remove these documents from their places of employment, and  certainly did not have permission to pass them on to me. This book is thus about  as far as possible from an authorized history of Israeli intelligence.

So, why did these sources speak with me and supply me with these documents?

Each had his own motive, and sometimes the story behind the scenes was only a  little less interesting than the content of the interview itself. It is clear that some  politicians and intelligence personnel—two professions highly skilled in  manipulation and deception—were trying to use me as the conduit for their  preferred version of events, or to shape history to suit themselves. I have tried to  thwart such attempts by cross-checking with as many written and oral sources as I  could.

But it seemed to me that there was often another motive, which had much to do  with a particularly Israeli contradiction: On the one hand, nearly everything in the  country related to intelligence and national security is classified as “top secret.” On

the other hand, everyone wants to speak about what they’ve done. Acts that people  in other countries might be ashamed to admit to are instead a source of pride for  Israelis, because they are collectively perceived as imperatives of national security,  necessary to protect threatened Israeli lives, if not the very existence of the  embattled state.

After a time, the Mossad did manage to block access to some of my sources (in  most cases only after they had already spoken to me). Many more have died since I  met them, most of natural causes. Thus, the firsthand accounts that these men and  women have given for this book—men and women who witnessed and participated  in significant historic events—are in fact the only ones that exist outside the vaults  of the defense establishment’s secret archives.

Occasionally, they are the only ones that exist at all. required in his German school to give the Nazi salute and sing the party anthem.

He returned as a soldier to a Europe in ruins, his people nearly destroyed, their  communities smoldering ruins. “The Jewish people had been humiliated, trampled,  murdered,” he said. “Now was the time to strike back, to take revenge. In my

dreams, when I enlisted, revenge took the form of me arresting my best friend  from Germany, whose name was Detlef, the son of a police major. That’s how I  would restore lost Jewish honor.”

It was that sense of lost honor, of a people’s humiliation, as much as rage at the  Nazis, that drove men like Gichon. He first met the Jewish refugees on the border  between Austria and Italy. The men of the Brigade fed them, took off their own  uniforms to clothe them against the cold, tried to draw out of them details of the  atrocities they had undergone. He remembers an encounter in June 1945 in which

a female refugee came up to him.

“She broke away from her group and spoke to me in German,” he said. “She  said, ‘You, the soldiers of the Brigade, are the sons of Bar Kokhba’ ”—the great  hero of the Second Jewish Revolt against the Romans, in A.D. 132–135. “She said,

‘I will always remember your insignia and what you did for us.’ ”

Gichon was flattered by the Bar Kokhba analogy, but for her praise and  gratitude, Gichon felt only pity and shame. If the Jews in the Brigade were the sons  of Bar Kokhba, who were these Jews? The soldiers from the Land of Israel,

standing erect, tough, and strong, saw the Holocaust survivors as victims who  needed help, but also as part of the European Jewry who had allowed themselves  to be massacred. They embodied the cowardly, feeble stereotype of the Jews of

the Diaspora—the Exile, in traditional Jewish and Zionist parlance—who  surrendered rather than fought back, who did not know how to shoot or wield a  weapon. It was that image—in its most extreme version, the Jew as a Muselmann,  prisoners’ slang for the emaciated, zombie-like inmates hovering near death in the  Nazi camps—that the new Jews of the Yishuv rejected. “My brain could not grasp,

not then and not today, how it could have been that there were tens of thousands of  Jews in a camp with only a few German guards, but they did not rise up, they  simply went like lambs to the slaughter,” Gichon said more than sixty years later.

“Why didn’t they tear [the Germans] to shreds? I’ve always said that no such thing  could happen in the Land of Israel. Had those communities had leaders worthy of  the name, the entire business would have looked completely different.”

In the years following the war, the Zionists of the Yishuv would prove, both to  the world and, more important, to themselves, that Jews would never again go to  such slaughter—and that Jewish blood would not come cheaply. The six million

would be avenged.

“We thought we could not rest until we had exacted blood for blood, death for  death,” said Hanoch Bartov, a highly regarded Israeli novelist who enlisted in the  Brigade a month before his seventeenth birthday.

Such vengeance, though—atrocity for atrocity—would violate the rules of war  and likely be disastrous for the Zionist cause. Ben-Gurion, practical as always,  publicly said as much: “Revenge now is an act of no national value. It cannot  restore life to the millions who were murdered.”

Still, the Haganah’s leaders privately understood the need for some sort of  retribution, both to satisfy the troops who had been exposed to the atrocities and  also to achieve some degree of historical justice and deter future attempts to

slaughter Jews. Thus, they sanctioned some types of reprisals against the Nazis and  their accomplices. Immediately after the war, a secret unit, authorized and  controlled by the Haganah high command and unknown to the British  commanders, was set up within the Brigade. It was called Gmul, Hebrew for  “Recompense.”

The unit’s mission was “revenge, but not a robber’s revenge,” as a  secret memo at the time put it. “Revenge against those SS men who themselves  took part in the slaughter.”

“We looked for big fish,” Mordechai Gichon said, breaking a vow of silence  among the Gmul commanders that he’d kept for more than sixty years. “The senior  Nazis who had managed to shed their uniforms and return to their homes.”

The Gmul agents worked undercover even as they performed their regular  Brigade duties. Gichon himself assumed two fake identities—one as a German  civilian, the other as a British major—as he hunted Nazis. In expeditions under his  German cover, Gichon recovered the Gestapo archives in Tarvisio, Villach, and  Klagenfurt, to which fleeing Nazis had set fire but only a small part of which  actually burned. Operating as the British major, he gleaned more names from  Yugoslavian Communists who were still afraid to carry out revenge attacks

themselves. A few Jews in American intelligence also were willing to help by  handing over information they had on escaped Nazis, which they thought the  Palestinian Jews would use to better effect than the American military.

Coercion worked, too. In June 1945, Gmul agents found a Polish-born German  couple who lived in Tarvisio. The wife had been involved in transferring stolen  Jewish property from Austria and Italy to Germany, and her husband had helped

run the regional Gestapo office. The Palestinian Jewish soldiers offered them a  stark choice: cooperate or die.

“The goy broke and said he was willing to cooperate,” said Yisrael Karmi, who  interrogated the couple and later, after Israel was born, would become the  commander of the Israeli Army’s military police. “I assigned him to prepare lists

of all the senior officials that he knew and who had worked with the Gestapo and  the SS. Name, date of birth, education, and positions.”

The result was a dramatic intelligence breakthrough, a list of dozens of names.

Gmul’s men tracked down each missing Nazi—finding some wounded in a local  hospital, where they were being treated under stolen aliases—and then pressured  those men to provide more information. They promised each German he would

not be harmed if he cooperated, so most did. Then, when they were no longer  useful, Gmul agents shot them and dumped the bodies. There was no sense in  leaving them alive to tip the British command to Gmul’s clandestine mission.

Once a particular name had been verified, the second phase began: locating the  target and gathering information for the final killing mission. Gichon, who’d been born in Germany, often was assigned that job. “No one suspected me,” he said.

“My vocal cords were of Berlin stock. I’d go to the corner grocery store or pub or  even just knock on a door to convey greetings from someone. Most of the time,  the people would respond [to their real names] or recoil into vague silence, which  was as good as a confirmation.” Once the identification was confirmed, Gichon  would track the German’s movements and provide a detailed sketch of the house

where he lived or the area that had been chosen for the abduction.

The killers themselves worked in teams of no more than five men. When  meeting their target, they generally wore British military police uniforms, and they  typically told their target they had come to take a man named so-and-so for  interrogation. Most of the time, the German came without objection. As one of the  unit’s soldiers, Shalom Giladi, related in his testimony to the Haganah Archive, the

Nazi was sometimes killed instantly, and other times transported to some remote  spot before being killed. “In time we developed quiet, rapid, and efficient methods  of taking care of the SS men who fell into our hands,” he said.

As anyone who has ever gotten into a pickup truck knows, a person hoisting himself up  into one braces his foot on the rear running board, leans forward under the canvas canopy,  and sort of rolls in. The man lying in wait inside the truck would take advantage of this

natural tilt of the body.

The minute the German’s head protruded into the gloom, the ambusher would bend over  him and wrap his arms under his chin—around his throat—in a kind of reverse choke hold,  and, carrying that into a throttle embrace, the ambusher would fall back flat on the mattress,

undergrounds had their killing campaign in full motion, trying to push the British

out of Palestine.

Yitzhak Shamir, now in command of Lehi, resolved not only to eliminate key  figures of the British Mandate locally—killing CID personnel and making  numerous attempts to do the same to the Jerusalem police chief, Michael Joseph  McConnell, and the high commissioner, Sir Harold MacMichael—but also  Englishmen in other countries who posed a threat to his political objective. Walter  Edward Guinness, more formally known as Lord Moyne, for example, was the  British resident minister of state in Cairo, which was also under British rule. The  Jews in Palestine considered Moyne a flagrant anti-Semite who had assiduously  used his position to restrict the Yishuv’s power by significantly reducing

immigration quotas for Holocaust survivors.

Shamir ordered Moyne killed. He sent two Lehi operatives, Eliyahu Hakim and  Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, to Cairo, where they waited at the door to Moyne’s house. When  Moyne pulled up, his secretary in the car with him, Hakim and Bet-Zuri sprinted  to the car. One of them shoved a pistol through the window, aimed it at Moyne’s  head, and fired three times. Moyne gripped his throat. “Oh, they’ve shot us!” he

cried, and then slumped forward in his seat. Still, it was an amateurish operation.

Shamir had counseled his young killers to arrange to escape in a car, but instead  they fled on slow-moving bicycles. Egyptian police quickly apprehended them, and  Hakim and Bet-Zuri were tried, convicted, and, six months later, hanged.

The assassination had a decisive effect on British officials, though not the one  Shamir had envisioned. As Israel would learn repeatedly in future years, it is very  hard to predict how history will proceed after someone is shot in the head.

After the unmitigated evil of the Holocaust, the attempted extermination of an  entire people in Europe, there was growing sympathy in the West for the Zionist  cause. According to some accounts, up until the first week of November 1944,

Britain’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, had been pushing his cabinet to  support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. He rallied several influential  figures to back the initiative—including Lord Moyne. It is not a stretch to assume,

then, that Churchill might well have arrived at the Yalta summit with Franklin  Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin with a clear, positive policy regarding the future of a  Jewish state, had Lehi not intervened. Instead, after the Cairo killing, Churchill  labeled the attackers “a new group of gangsters” and announced that he was  reconsidering his position.

And the killing continued. On July 22, 1946, members of Menachem Begin’s

Irgun planted 350 KG explosives in the south wing of the King David Hotel, in  Jerusalem, where the British Mandate’s administration and army and intelligence  offices were housed. A warning call from the Irgun apparently was dismissed as a  hoax; the building was not evacuated before a massive explosion ripped through it.

Ninety-one people were killed, and forty-five wounded.

This was not the targeted killing of a despised British official or a guerrilla  attack on a police station. Instead, it was plainly an act of terror, aimed at a target  with numerous civilians inside. Most damningly, many Jews were among the  casualties.

The King David Hotel bombing sparked a fierce dispute in the Yishuv. Ben-  Gurion immediately denounced the Irgun and called it “an enemy of the Jewish  people.”

But the extremists were not deterred.

 

 

Three months after the King David attack, on October 31, a Lehi cell, again  acting on their own, without Ben-Gurion’s approval or knowledge, bombed the  British embassy in Rome. The embassy building was severely damaged, but thanks  to the fact that the operation took place at night, only a security guard and two  Italian pedestrians were injured.

Almost immediately after that, Lehi mailed letter bombs to every senior British  cabinet member in London. On one level, this effort was a spectacular failure—not  a single letter exploded—but on another, Lehi had made its point, and its reach,  clear. The files of MI5, Britain’s security service, showed that Zionist terrorism  was considered the most serious threat to British national security at the time—

even more serious than the Soviet Union. Irgun cells in Britain were established,  according to one MI5 memo, “to beat the dog in its own kennel.” British  intelligence sources warned of a wave of attacks on “selected VIPs,” among them  Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and even Prime Minister Clement Attlee himself.

At the end of 1947, a report to the British high commissioner tallied the casualties  of the previous two years: 176 British Mandate personnel and civilians killed.

“Only these actions, these executions, caused the British to leave,” David  Shomron said, decades after he shot Tom Wilkin dead on a Jerusalem street. “If [Avraham] Stern had not begun the war, the State of Israel would not have come

into being.”

One may argue with these statements. The shrinking British Empire ceded  control of the majority of its colonies, including many countries where terror  tactics had not been employed, due to economic reasons and increased demands  for independence from the native populations. India, for instance, gained its  independence right around the same time. Nevertheless, Shomron and his ilk were

firmly convinced that their own bravery and their extreme methods had brought  about the departure of the British.

And it was the men who fought that bloody underground war—guerrillas, assassins, terrorists—who would play a central role in the building of the new state  of Israel’s armed forces and intelligence community office in the former Templer colony in Tel Aviv. “Intelligence is one of the

military and political tools that we urgently need for this war,” Shiloah wrote in a

memo to Ben-Gurion. “It will have to become a permanent tool, including in our

[peacetime] political apparatus.”

Ben-Gurion did not need to be persuaded. After all, a large part of the  surprising, against-all-odds establishment of the state, and its defense, was owed to  the effective use of accurate intelligence.

 

 

That day, he ordered the establishment of three agencies. The first was the  Intelligence Department of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff, later  commonly referred to by its Hebrew acronym, AMAN. Second was the Shin Bet  (acronym for the General Security Service), responsible for internal security and  created as a sort of hybrid between the American FBI and the British MI5. (The  organization later changed its name to the Israeli Security Agency, but most  Israelis still refer to it by its acronym, Shabak, or, more commonly, as in this book,  as Shin Bet.) And a third, the Political Department—now belonging to the new  Foreign Ministry, instead of the Jewish Agency—would engage in foreign

espionage and intelligence collection. Abandoned Templer homes in the Sarona  neighborhood, near the Defense Ministry, were assigned to each outfit, putting  Ben-Gurion’s office at the center of an ostensibly organized force of security

services.

But nothing in those first months and years was so tidy. Remnants of Haganah  agencies were absorbed into various security services or spy rings, then shuffled  and reabsorbed into another. Add to that the myriad turf battles and clashing egos  of what were essentially revolutionaries, and much was chaos in the espionage  underground. “They were hard years,” said Isser Harel, one of the founding fathers

of Israeli intelligence. “We had to establish a country and defend it. [But] the  structure of the services and the division of labor was determined without any  systematic judgment, without discussions with all the relevant people, in an almost

dilettantish and conspiratorial way.”

Under normal conditions, administrators would establish clear boundaries and  procedures, and field agents would patiently cultivate sources of information over a  period of years. But Israel did not have this luxury. Its intelligence operations had  to be built on the fly and under siege, while the young country was fighting for its  very existence.

THE FIRST CHALLENGE THAT Ben-Gurion’s spies faced was an internal one: There  were Jews who blatantly defied his authority, among them the remnants of the  right-wing underground movements. An extreme example of this defiance was the  Altalena affair, in June 1948. A ship by that name, dispatched from Europe by the  Irgun, was due to arrive, carrying immigrants and arms. But the organization

refused to hand all the weapons over to the army of the new state, insisting that  some of them be given to still intact units of its own. Ben-Gurion, who had been  informed of the plans by agents inside Irgun, ordered that the ship be taken over by  force. In the ensuing fight, it was sunk, and sixteen Irgun fighters and three IDF  soldiers were killed. Shortly afterward, security forces rounded up two hundred  Irgun members all over the country, effectively ending its existence.

Yitzhak Shamir and the Lehi operatives under his command also refused to  accept the more moderate Ben-Gurion’s authority. Over the summer, during the  truce, UN envoy Bernadotte crafted a tentative peace plan that would have ended  the fighting. But the plan was unacceptable to Lehi and Shamir, who accused  Bernadotte of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II and of drafting a  proposal that would redraw Israeli borders in such a way—including giving most  of the Negev and Jerusalem to the Arabs, and putting the Haifa port and Lydda

airport under international control, as well as obliging the Jewish state to take back  300,000 Arab refugees—that the country would not survive.

Lehi issued several public warnings, in the form of notices posted in the streets

of cities:

ADVICE TO THE AGENT BERNADOTTE: CLEAR OUT OF OUR COUNTRY.

The  underground radio was even more outspoken, declaring, “The Count will end up  like the Lord” (a reference to the assassinated Lord Moyne). Bernadotte ignored  mthe warnings, and even ordered UN observers not to carry arms, saying, “The  United Nations flag protects us.”

Convinced that the envoy’s plan would be accepted, Shamir ordered his  assassination. On September 17, four months after statehood was declared, and the  day after Bernadotte submitted his plan to the UN Security Council, he was

traveling with his entourage in a convoy of three white DeSoto sedans from UN  headquarters to the Rehavia neighborhood of Jewish Jerusalem, when a jeep  blocked their way. Three young men wearing peaked caps jumped out. Two of  them shot the tires of the UN vehicles, and the third, Yehoshua Cohen, opened the  door of the car Bernadotte was traveling in and opened fire with his Schmeisser

MP40 submachine gun. The first burst hit the man sitting next to Bernadotte, a  French colonel by the name of André Serot, but the next, more accurate, hit the  count in the chest. Both men were killed. The whole attack was over in seconds

—“like thunder and lightning, the time it takes to fire fifty rounds,” is the way the  Israeli liaison officer, Captain Moshe Hillman, who was in the car with the  victims, described it. The perpetrators were never caught.

The assassination infuriated and profoundly embarrassed the Jewish leadership.

The Security Council condemned it as “a cowardly act which appears to have been  committed by a criminal group of terrorists in Jerusalem,” and The New York  Times wrote the following day, “No Arab armies could have done so much harm

[to the Jewish state] in so short a time.”

Ben-Gurion saw Lehi’s rogue operation as a serious challenge to his authority,  one that could lead to a coup or even a civil war. He reacted immediately,  outlawing both the Irgun and Lehi. He ordered Shin Bet chief Isser Harel to round

up Lehi members. Topping the wanted list was Yitzhak Shamir. He wasn’t  captured, but many others were, and they were locked up under heavy guard. Lehi  ceased to exist as an organization.

Ben-Gurion was grateful to Harel for his vigorous action against the  underground and made him the number-one intelligence official in the country.

A short, solid, and driven man, Isser Harel was influenced by the Russian  Bolshevik revolutionary movement and its use of sabotage, guerrilla warfare, and  assassination, but he abhorred communism. Under his direction, the Shin Bet kept

constant surveillance and conducted political espionage against Ben-Gurion’s  political opponents, the left-wing socialist and Communist parties, and the right-  wing Herut party formed by veterans of Irgun and Lehi.

Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion and his foreign minister, Moshe Sharett, were at  loggerheads over what policy should be adopted toward the Arabs. Sharett was the  most prominent of Israel’s early leaders who believed diplomacy was the best way  to achieve regional peace and thus secure the country. Even before independence,  he made secret overtures to Jordan’s King Abdullah and Lebanon’s prime minister,

Riad al-Solh, who would be instrumental in forming the coalition of invading  Arabs, and who already had been largely responsible for the Palestinian militias  that exacted heavy losses on the pre-state Yishuv. Despite al-Solh’s virulently anti-

Jewish rhetoric and anti-Israel actions, he secretly met with Eliyahu Sasson, one of  Sharett’s deputies, several times in Paris in late 1948 to discuss a peace agreement.

“If we want to establish contacts with the Arabs to end the war,” said Sasson when  Sharett, enthusiastic about his secret contacts, took him to report to the cabinet,

“we have to be in contact with those people who are now in power. With those  who have declared war on us…and who are having trouble continuing.”

Organization

Divisions

The organizational structure of the Mossad is officially classified. Mossad is organized into divisions, led by a director who is equivalent to a major general in the Israel Defense Forces.[10]

  • Tzomet: Mossad's largest division, staffed with case officers called katsas tasked with conducting espionage overseas and running agents.[11] Employees in Tzomet operate under a variety of covers, including diplomatic and unofficial. The division was led from 2006 to 2011 by Yossi Cohen[12] and from 2013 to 2019 by David Barnea, both of whom later served as Mossad directors.[13]
  • Caesarea: conducts special operations and houses the Kidon (Hebrew: כידון, "bayonet", "javelin" or a "spear") unit, an elite group of assassins.[14]
  • Keshet ("Rainbow"): electronic surveillance, break-ins, and wiretapping[10]
  • Human Resources[10]
  • A special unit called Metsada allegedly runs "small units of combatants" whose missions include "assassinations and sabotage".[15][better source needed]

Venture capital

Mossad opened a venture capital fund in June 2017,[16] to invest in high-tech startups to develop new cyber technologies.[17] The names of technology startups funded by Mossad are not published.[17]

Personnel

Katsa

katsa is a field intelligence officer of the Mossad.[18] The word katsa is a Hebrew acronym for Hebrewקצין איסוףromanizedktsin issuf, "intelligence officer", literally "gathering officer". A katsa is a case officer who runs agents to clandestinely collect intelligence.

Kidon

The kidon are Mossad's elite assassins. Recruits receive two years of training at Mossad's training facility near Herzliya.[11]

Sayanim

Sayanim (Hebrewסייענים, lit. helpers, assistants)[19] are unpaid Jewish civilians who help Mossad out of a sense of devotion to Israel.[20] They are recruited by Mossad's field agents, katsas, to provide logistical support for Mossad operations.[11] A sayan running a rental agency, for instance, could help Mossad agents rent a car without the usual documentation.[21][22] The usage of sayanim allows the Mossad to operate with a slim budget yet conduct vast operations worldwide.[23] Sayanim can have dual citizenships but are often not Israeli citizens.[24][25]

According to Gordon Thomas, there were 4,000 sayanim in Britain and some 16,000 in the United States in 1998.[21]

Israeli students called bodlim are often used as gofers for Mossad.[26]

Directors of the Mossad in 2015

 

 

Motto

Mossad's former motto, be-tachbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milchāmāh (Hebrewבתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה) is a quote from the Bible (Proverbs 24:6): "For by wise guidance you can wage your war" (NRSV). The motto was later[when?] changed to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tachbūlōt yippol `ām; ū-teshū`āh be-rov yō'éts (Hebrewבאין תחבולות יפול עם, ותשועה ברוב יועץ, Proverbs 11:14). This is translated by NRSV as: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."[27]

Directors of Mossad

About half of the Mossad's leaders rose through its ranks, while the rest are retired IDF soldiers appointed to head the agency. The Prime Minister personally appoints the head of the Mossad for Intelligence and Special Duties without needing government or other supervisory body approval (unlike the Chief of Staff or the Shin Bet's head). The appointment undergoes review by the advisory committee for appointing senior civil service officials. The term is five years, extendable by the Prime Minister for another year without conditions.[28]

Until 1996, the head of the Mossad's name was kept confidential. The Mossad argued that secrecy allowed the head to move freely worldwide. In response to public criticism, the government began revealing the head's name when Danny Yatom assumed office.[29]

 

Alleged operations

Operation Harpoon

Together with Shurat HaDin, Mossad[when?] started Operation Harpoon, for "destroying terrorists' money networks".[30][31]

Africa

Egypt

  • Provision of intelligence for the cutting of communications between Port Said and Cairo in 1956.[citation needed]
  • Mossad spy Wolfgang Lotz, holding West German citizenship, infiltrated Egypt in 1957, and gathered intelligence on Egyptian missile sites, military installations, and industries. He also composed a list of German rocket scientists working for the Egyptian government, and sent some of them letter bombs. After the East German head of state made a state visit to Egypt, the Egyptian government detained thirty West German citizens as a goodwill gesture. Lotz, assuming that he had been discovered, confessed to his cold war espionage activities.[32]
  • After a tense May 25, 1967, confrontation with CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden, who warned that the United States would help defend Egypt if Israel launched a surprise attack, Mossad director Meir Amit flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and reported back to the Israeli cabinet that the United States had given Israel "a flickering green light" to attack.[33]
  • Provision of intelligence on the Egyptian Air Force for Operation Focus, the opening air strike of the Six-Day War.
  • Operation Bulmus 6 – Intelligence assistance in the Commando Assault on Green Island, Egypt during the War of Attrition.[citation needed]
  • Operation Damocles – A campaign of assassination and intimidation against German rocket scientists employed by Egypt in building missiles.[citation needed]
    • A bomb sent to the Heliopolis rocket factory killed five Egyptian workers, allegedly sent by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.[34]
    • Heinz Krug, 49, the chief of a Munich company supplying military hardware to Egypt disappeared in September 1962 and is believed to have been assassinated by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.[34]

Morocco

In September 1956, Mossad established a secretive network in Morocco to smuggle Moroccan Jews to Israel after a ban on immigration to Israel was imposed.[35]

In early 1991, two Mossad operatives infiltrated the Moroccan port of Casablanca and planted a tracking device on the freighter Al-Yarmouk, which was carrying a cargo of North Korean missiles bound for Syria. The ship was to be sunk by the Israeli Air Force, but the mission was later called off by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.[36]

Tunisia

The 1988 killing of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), a founder of Fatah.[37]

The alleged killing of Salah Khalaf, head of intelligence of the PLO and second in command of Fatah behind Yasser Arafat, in 1991.[38]

The 2016 alleged killing of Hamas operative Mohamed Zouari in Tunisia. Known to Israel's security echelon as "The Engineer", he was a Hamas-affiliated engineer who was believed to be constructing drones for the group. He was shot at close range.[39][40]

Uganda

For Operation Entebbe in 1976, Mossad provided intelligence regarding Entebbe International Airport[41] and extensively interviewed hostages who had been released.[42]

South Africa

In the late 1990s, after Mossad was tipped off to the presence of two Iranian agents in Johannesburg on a mission to procure advanced weapons systems from Denel, a Mossad agent was deployed, and met up with a local Jewish contact. Posing as South African intelligence, they abducted the Iranians, drove them to a warehouse, and beat and intimidated them before forcing them to leave the country.[36]

Sudan

After the 1994 AMIA bombing, the largest bombing in Argentine history, Mossad began gathering intelligence for a raid by Israeli Special Forces on the Iranian embassy in Khartoum as retaliation. The operation was called off due to fears that another attack against worldwide Jewish communities might take place as revenge. Mossad also assisted in Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel from a famine-ridden region of Sudan in 1984, also maintaining a relationship with the Ethiopian government. [citation needed]

Americas

Argentina

In 1960, Mossad discovered that the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was in Argentina. A team of five Mossad agents led by Shimon Ben Aharon slipped into Argentina and, through surveillance, confirmed that he had been living there under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was abducted on May 11, 1960 and taken to a hideout. He was subsequently smuggled to Israel, where he was tried and executed. Argentina protested what it considered as a violation of its sovereignty, and the United Nations Security Council noted that "repetition of acts such as [this] would involve a breach of the principles upon which international order is founded, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and distrust incompatible with the preservation of peace" while also acknowledging that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."[b][46] Mossad abandoned a second operation, intended to capture Josef Mengele.[47]

United States

During the 1990s, Mossad discovered that a Hezbollah agent was operating inside the United States to procure materials needed to manufacture IEDs and other weapons. In a joint operation with U.S. intelligence, the Hezbollah agent was kept under surveillance in hopes that his communications would expose additional Hezbollah operatives. The agent was eventually arrested.[36]

Mossad informed the FBI and CIA in August 2001 that, based on its intelligence, as many as 200 terrorists were slipping into the United States and planning "a major assault on the United States". The Israeli intelligence agency cautioned the FBI that it had picked up indications of a "large-scale target" in the United States and that Americans would be "very vulnerable".[48] However, "It is not known whether U.S. authorities thought the warning to be credible, or whether it contained enough details to allow counter-terrorism teams to come up with a response." A month later, terrorists struck at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the largest terrorist attack in history.[48]

The US journalists Dylan Howard, Melissa Cronin and James Robertson linked the Mossad to American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in their book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales. They relied for the most part on the former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe.[49] According to him, Epstein's activities as a spy served to gather compromising material on powerful people in order to blackmail them.[50] There is also a possible connection to the Mossad via Ghislaine Maxwell, whose father Robert Maxwell is said to have had contacts with the Mossad.[51] Epstein's victim Virginia Giuffre also alleged Epstein to be an intelligence asset, linking on Twitter to a Reddit page, that alleged Epstein being a spy, running a blackmail operation.[52]

Uruguay

In 1965, the Mossad assassinated Latvian Nazi collaborator Herberts Cukurs.[53]

Asia

Central Asia and the Middle East

A report published on the Israeli military's official website in February 2014 said that Middle Eastern countries that cooperate with Israel (Mossad) are the United Arab EmiratesAfghanistan, the Republic of AzerbaijanBahrain and Saudi Arabia. The report claimed that Bahrain has been providing Israel with intelligence on Iranian and Palestinian organizations. The report also highlights the growing secret cooperation with Saudi Arabia, claiming that Mossad has been in direct contact with Saudi intelligence about Iran’s nuclear energy program.[54][55]

Iran

Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, SAVAK (Organization of National Security and Information), the Iranian secret police and intelligence service was created under the guidance of United States and Israeli intelligence officers in 1957.[56][57] After security relations between the United States and Iran grew more distant in the early 1960s which led the CIA training team to leave Iran, Mossad became increasingly active in Iran, "training SAVAK personnel and carrying out a broad variety of joint operations with SAVAK."[58]

A US intelligence official told The Washington Post that Israel orchestrated the defection of Iranian general Ali Reza Askari on February 7, 2007.[59] This has been denied by Israeli spokesman Mark RegevThe Sunday Times reported that Askari had been a Mossad asset since 2003, and left only when his cover was about to be blown.[60]

Le Figaro claimed that Mossad was possibly behind a blast at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Imam Ali military base, on October 12, 2011. The explosion at the base killed 18 and injured 10 others. Among the dead was also general Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who served as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile program and was a crucial figure in building Iran's long-range missile program.[61] The base is believed to store long-range missiles, including the Shahab-3, and also has hangars. It is one of Iran's most secure military bases.[62]

Mossad has been accused of assassinating Masoud AlimohammadiArdeshir HosseinpourMajid ShahriariDarioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan; scientists involved in the Iranian nuclear program. It is also suspected of being behind the attempted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi.[63] Meir Dagan, who served as Director of Mossad from 2002 until 2009, while not taking credit for the assassinations, praised them in an interview with a journalist, saying "the removal of important brains" from the Iranian nuclear project had achieved so-called "white defections", frightening other Iranian nuclear scientists into requesting that they be transferred to civilian projects.[33]

In 2018 the Mossad infiltrated into Iran's secret nuclear archive in Tehran and smuggled over 100,000 documents and computer files to Israel. The documents and files showed that the Iranian AMAD Project aimed to develop nuclear weapons.[64] Israel shared the information with its allies, including European countries and the United States.[65]

Iraq

Assistance in the defection and rescuing of the family of Munir Redfa, an Iraqi pilot who defected and flew his MiG-21 to Israel in 1966: "Operation Diamond". Redfa's entire family was also successfully smuggled from Iraq to Israel. Previously unknown information about the MiG-21 was subsequently shared with the United States.

Operation Sphinx[66] – Between 1978 and 1981, obtained highly sensitive information about Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor by recruiting an Iraqi nuclear scientist in France.

Operation Bramble Bush II – In the 1990s, Mossad began scouting locations in Iraq where Saddam Hussein could be ambushed by Sayeret Matkal commandos inserted into Iraq from Jordan. The mission was called off due to Operation Desert Fox and the ongoing Israeli-Arab peace process.[citation needed]

Jordan

In what is thought to have been a reprisal action for a Hamas suicide-bombing in Jerusalem on July 30, 1997 that killed 16 Israelis, Benjamin Netanyahu authorised an operation against Khaled Mashal, the Hamas representative in Jordan.[67] On September 25, 1997, Mashal was injected in the ear with a toxin (thought to have been a derivative of the synthetic opiate Fentanyl called Levofentanyl).[68][69] Jordanian authorities apprehended two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists and trapped a further six in the Israeli embassy. In exchange for their release, an Israeli physician had to fly to Amman and deliver an antidote for Mashal. The fallout from the failed killing eventually led to the release of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement, and scores of Hamas prisoners. Netanyahu flew into Amman on September 29 to apologize personally to King Hussein, but he was instead met by the King's brother, Crown Prince Hassan.[68]

Lebanon

The sending of letter bombs to PFLP member Bassam Abu Sharif in 1972. Sharif was severely wounded, but survived.[70]

The killing of the Palestinian writer and leading PFLP member Ghassan Kanafani by a car bomb in 1972.[71]

The provision of intelligence and operational assistance in the 1973 Operation Spring of Youth special forces raid on Beirut.

The targeted killing of Ali Hassan Salameh, the leader of Black September, on January 22, 1979 in Beirut by a car bomb.[72][73]

Providing intelligence for the killing of Abbas al-Musawi, secretary general of Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon in 1992.[74]

Allegedly killed Jihad Ahmed Jibril, the leader of the military wing of the PFLP-GC, in Beirut in 2002.[75]

Allegedly killed Ali Hussein Saleh, member of Hezbollah, in Beirut in 2003.[76]

Allegedly killed Ghaleb Awwali, a senior Hezbollah official, in Beirut in 2004.[77]

Allegedly killed Mahmoud al-Majzoub, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Sidon in 2006.[78]

Mossad was suspected of establishing a large spy network in Lebanon, recruited from DruzeChristian, and Sunni Muslim communities, and officials in the Lebanese government, to spy on Hezbollah and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard advisors. Some have allegedly been active since the 1982 Lebanon War. In 2009, Lebanese Security Services supported by Hezbollah's intelligence unit, and working in collaboration with SyriaIran, and possibly Russia, launched a major crackdown which resulted in the arrests of around 100 alleged spies "working for Israel".[79] Previously, in 2006, the Lebanese army uncovered a network that allegedly assassinated several Lebanese and Palestinian leaders on behalf of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.[80]

Palestine

Caesarea tried for many years to assassinate Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, a job later tasked by Israel's Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon to a military special ops task force code named "Salt Fish", later renamed "Operation Goldfish", specially created for the job of assassinating Arafat,[81] with Ronan Bergman suggesting that Israel used radiation poisoning to kill Yasser Arafat.[82]

Syria

Eli Cohen infiltrated the highest echelons of the Syrian government, was a close friend of the Syrian President, and was considered for the post of Minister of Defense. He gave his handlers a complete plan of the Syrian defenses on the Golan Heights, the Syrian Armed Forces order of battle, and a complete list of the Syrian military's weapons inventory. He also ordered the planting of trees by every Syrian fortified position under the pretext of shading soldiers, but the trees actually served as targeting markers for the Israel Defense Forces. He was discovered by Syrian and Soviet intelligence, tried in secret, and executed publicly in 1965.[83] His information played a crucial role during the Six-Day War.

On April 1, 1978, 12 Syrian military and secret service personnel were killed by a booby trapped sophisticated Israeli listening device planted on the main telephone cable between Damascus and Jordan.[84]

The alleged death of General Anatoly Kuntsevich, who from the late 1990s was suspected of aiding the Syrians in the manufacture of VX nerve-gas, in exchange for which he was paid huge amounts of money by the Syrian government. On April 3, 2002, Kuntsevich died mysteriously during a plane journey, amid allegations that Mossad was responsible.[84]

The alleged killing of Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil, a senior member of the military wing of Hamas, in an automobile booby trap in September 2004 in Damascus.[85]

The uncovering of a nuclear reactor being built in Syria as a result of surveillance by Mossad of Syrian officials working under the command of Muhammad Suleiman. As a result, the Syrian nuclear reactor was destroyed by Israeli Air Forces in September 2007 (see Operation Orchard).[84]

The alleged killing of Muhammad Suleiman, head of Syria's nuclear program, in 2008. Suleiman was on a beach in Tartus and was killed by a sniper firing from a boat.[86]

On July 25, 2007, the al-Safir chemical weapons depot exploded, killing 15 Syrian personnel as well as 10 Iranian engineers. Syrian investigations blamed Israeli sabotage.[84]

The alleged killing of Imad Mughniyah, a senior leader of Hezbollah complicit in the 1983 United States embassy bombing, with an exploding headrest in Damascus in 2008.[87]

The decomposed body of Yuri Ivanov, the deputy head of the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence service, was found on a Turkish beach in early August 2010,[88] amid allegations that Mossad may have played a role. He had disappeared while staying near Latakia, Syria.[89]

Mossad was accused of being behind the assassination of Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist responsible for developing long-range rockets and chemical weapons programs. He was killed in a car bomb in Masyaf on August 5, 2018.[90]

United Arab Emirates

Mossad is suspected of killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, in January 2010 at DubaiUnited Arab Emirates. The team which carried out the killing is estimated, on the basis of CCTV and other evidence, to have consisted of at least 26 agents traveling on bogus passports. The operatives entered al-Mabhouh's hotel room, where Mabhouh was subjected to electric shocks and interrogated. The door to his room was reported to have been locked from the inside.[91][92][93][94][95] Although the UAE police and Hamas have declared Israel responsible for the killing, no direct evidence linking Mossad to the crime has been found. The agents' bogus passports included six British passports, cloned from those of real British nationals resident in Israel and suspected by Dubai, five Irish passports, apparently forged from those of living individuals,[96] forged Australian passports that raised fears of reprisal against innocent victims of identity theft,[97] a genuine German passport and a false French passport. Emirati police say they have fingerprint and DNA evidence of some of the attackers, as well as retinal scans of 11 suspects recorded at Dubai airport.[98][99] Dubai's police chief has said "I am now completely sure that it was Mossad," adding: "I have presented the (Dubai) prosecutor with a request for the arrest of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the head of Mossad," for the murder.[100]

South Asia and East/Southeast Asia

India

Rediff story in 2003 revealed that Mossad had clandestine links with the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. When R&AW was founded in September 1968 by Rameshwar Nath Kao, he was advised by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to cultivate links with Mossad. This was suggested as a countermeasure to military links between that of Pakistan and China, as well as with North Korea. Israel was also concerned that Pakistani army officers were training Libyans and Iranians in handling Chinese and North Korean military equipment.[101]

Pakistan believed intelligence relations between India and Israel threatened Pakistani security. When young Israeli tourists began visiting the Kashmir valley in the early 1990s, Pakistan suspected they were disguised Israeli army officers there to help Indian security forces with anti-terrorism operations. Israeli tourists were attacked, with one slain and another kidnapped. Pressure from the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora in the United States led to his release. Kashmiri Muslims feared that the attacks could isolate the American Jewish community, and result in them lobbying the US government against Kashmiri separatist groups.[101]

India Today reported that the two flats were RAW safe houses used as operational fronts for Mossad agents and housed Mossad's station chief between 1989 and 1992. RAW had reportedly decided to have closer ties to Mossad, and the subsequent secret operation was approved by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. India Today cites "RAW insiders" as saying that RAW agents hid a Mossad agent holding an Argentine passport and exchanged intelligence and expertise in operations, including negotiations for the release of an Israeli tourist by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militants in June 1991. When asked about the case Verma refused to speak about the companies, but claimed his relationship with them was purely professional. Raman stated, "Sometimes, spy agencies float companies for operational reasons. All I can say is that everything was done with government approval. Files were cleared by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his cabinet secretary. Balachandran stated, "It is true that we did a large number of operations but at every stage, we kept the Cabinet Secretariat and the prime minister in the loop."[102]

In November 2015, The Times of India reported that agents from Mossad and MI5 were protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Turkey. Modi was on a state visit to the United Kingdom and was scheduled to attend the 2015 G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The paper reported that the agents had been called in to provide additional cover to Modi's security detail, composed of India's Special Protection Group and secret agents from RAW and IB, in wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.[103][104]

Malaysia

In 2018, Hamas and the family of Malaysian-based Hamas engineer and university lecturer Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh have accused the Mossad of assassinating him. In April 2018, al-Batsh was shot dead by two men on a motorbike in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described the suspects as Europeans with links to an unidentified foreign intelligence agency. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied that Mossad was involved in al-Batsh's assassination and suggested that his death was the result of an internal Palestinian dispute.[105][106] Hamas also issued a statement describing Batsh as a "martyr" and "distinguished scientist who has widely contributed to the energy sector."[107]

In October 2022, the New Straits Times and Al Jazeera Arabic reported that several Malaysian Mossad operatives had attempted to kidnap two Palestinian computer experts in Kuala Lumpur in late September 2022. Though they managed to kidnap one of the men, the second escaped and alerted Malaysian police. The operatives allegedly assisted Mossad officials via video call in interrogating and beating their captive, who was questioned about the computer programming and software capabilities of Hamas and its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. With the aid of the second Palestinian man, Malaysian police were able to track down the car registration plates to a house where the alleged kidnappers were arrested and the man was freed. According to Al Jazeera Arabic, a "well-informed Malaysian source" claimed that an investigation had uncovered an undercover 11-member Mossad cell in Malaysia that was involved in spying on important sites including airports, government electronic companies, and tracking down Palestinian activists. This Mossad cell allegedly consisted of Malaysian nationals who received training in Europe.[108][109][110]

North Korea

Mossad may have been involved in the 2004 explosion of Ryongchon, where several Syrian nuclear scientists working on the Syrian and Iranian nuclear-weapons programs were killed and a train carrying fissionable material was destroyed.[111]

Pakistan

In a September 2003 news article,[112] it was alleged by Rediff News that General Pervez Musharraf, the then-president of Pakistan, decided to establish a clandestine relationship between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Mossad via officers of the two services posted at their embassies in Washington, DC.

Sri Lanka

Mossad had helped both Sri Lanka and the Eelam. Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky claimed that Mossad trained both the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE while keeping the two separated. Ravi Jayawardene, head of the STF, had toured Israel in 1984 and took inspiration from the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories to form armed Sinhalese settlements in strategic border areas of the Tamil-dominant Northern and Eastern provinces.[113]

Europe

Austria

In 1954, after Mossad received intelligence that an Israeli officer who had access to classified military technologies, Major Alexander Israel, had approached Egyptian officials in Europe and offered to sell Israeli military secrets and documents, a team of Mossad and Shin Bet officers was quickly sent to Europe to locate him and abduct him, and located him in Vienna. The mission was code-named Operation Bren. A female agent managed to lure him to a meeting through a honey trap operation, and he was subsequently kidnapped, sedated, and flown to Israel aboard a waiting Israeli military plane. However, the plane had to make several refueling stops, and he was given an additional dose of sedatives each time, which ultimately caused him to overdose, killing him. Upon arrival in Israel, after it was discovered that he was dead, he was given a burial at sea, and the case remained highly classified for decades.[114]

Mossad gathered information on Austrian politician Jörg Haider using a mole.[115]

Belgium

Mossad is alleged to be responsible for the killing of Canadian engineer and ballistics expert Gerald Bull on March 22, 1990. He was shot multiple times in the head outside his Brussels apartment.[116] Bull was at the time working for Iraq on the Project Babylon supergun.[117] Others, including Bull's son, believe that Mossad is taking credit for an act they did not commit to scare off others who may try to help enemy regimes. The alternative theory is that Bull was killed by the CIA. Iraq and Iran are also candidates for suspicion.[118]

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Assisted in air and overland evacuations of Bosnian Jews from war-torn Sarajevo to Israel in 1992 and 1993.[119]

Cyprus

The killing of Hussein Al Bashir in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1973 in relation to the Munich massacre.[74]

France

Mossad allegedly assisted Morocco's domestic security service in the disappearance of dissident politician Mehdi Ben Barka in 1965.[120]

Cherbourg Project – Operation Noa, the 1969 smuggling of five Sa'ar 3-class missile boats out of Cherbourg.[citation needed]

The killing of Mahmoud Hamshari, alleged coordinator of the Munich massacre, with an exploding telephone in his Paris apartment in 1972.[74]

The killing of Basil Al Kubaisi, who was involved in the Munich massacre, in Paris in 1973.[74]

The killing of Mohamed Boudia, member of the PFLP, in Paris in 1973.[74]

On April 5, 1979, Mossad agents are believed to have triggered an explosion which destroyed 60 percent of components being built in Toulouse for an Iraqi reactor. Although an environmental organization, Groupe des écologistes français, unheard of before this incident, claimed credit for the blast,[66] most French officials discount the claim. The reactor itself was subsequently destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 1981.[66][121]

The alleged killing of Zuheir Mohsen, a pro-Syrian member of the PLO, in 1979.[122]

The killing of Yehia El-Mashad, the head of the Iraq nuclear weapons program, in 1980.[123]

The alleged killing of Atef Bseiso, a top intelligence officer of the PLO, in Paris in 1992. French police believe that a team of assassins followed Atef Bseiso from Berlin, where that first team connected with another team to close in on him in front of a Left Bank hotel, where he received three head-shots at point blank range.[124]

Germany

Operation Plumbat (1968) was an operation by Lekem-Mossad to further Israel's nuclear program. The German freighter "Scheersberg A" disappeared on its way from Antwerp to Genoa along with its cargo of 200 tons of yellowcake, after supposedly being transferred to an Israeli ship.[125]

The sending of letter bombs during the assassination campaign. Some of these attacks were not fatal. Their purpose might not have been to kill the receiver. A Mossad letter bomb led to fugitive Nazi war-criminal Alois Brunner's losing four fingers from his right hand in 1980.[126] Years earlier, on 25 September 1963, the Mossad tried to kill SS-Hauptsturmführer and concentration camp doctor Hans Eisele with a mail bomb. However, the bomb detonated early, instead killing a postal worker.[127][128]

The alleged targeted killing of Wadie Haddad, using poisoned chocolate. Haddad died on 28 March 1978, in the German Democratic Republic supposedly from leukemia. According to the book Striking Back, published by Aharon Klein in 2006, Haddad was eliminated by Mossad, which had sent the chocolate-loving Haddad Belgian chocolates coated with a slow-acting and undetectable poison which caused him to die several months later. "It took him a few long months to die", Klein said in the book.[129]

Mossad discovered that Hezbollah had recruited a German national named Steven Smyrek, and that he was travelling to Israel. In an operation conducted by Mossad, the CIA, the German Internal Security agency Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), and the Israeli Internal Security agency Shin Bet, Smyrek was kept under constant surveillance, and arrested as soon as he landed in Israel.[130]

Greece

The killing of Zaiad Muchasi, Fatah representative to Cyprus, by an explosion in his Athens hotel room in 1973.[74]

Ireland

The assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh – a senior Hamas military commander – in Dubai, 2010, was suspected to be the work of Mossad, and there were eight Irish passports (six of which were used) fraudulently obtained by the Israeli embassy in DublinIreland for use by alleged Mossad agents in the operation. The Irish government was angered over the use of Irish passports, summoned the Israeli ambassador for an explanation and expelled the Israeli diplomat deemed responsible from Dublin, following an investigation. One of the passports was registered to a residence on Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, on the same road as the Israeli embassy. The house was empty when later searched, but there was suspicion by Irish authorities it had been used as a Mossad safe house in the past.[131][132] Mossad is reported to have a working relationship with the Irish military intelligence service[133] and has previously tipped the Irish authorities off about arms shipments from the Middle East to Ireland for use by dissident republican militants, resulting in their interception and arrests.[134]

Italy

The killing of Wael Zwaiter, thought to be a member of Black September.[135][136]

In 1986, Mossad used an undercover agent to lure Mordechai Vanunu, in a honey trap style operation, from the United Kingdom to Italy. There, he was abducted and returned to Israel, where he was tried and found guilty of treason because of his role in exposing Israel's nuclear weapons programme.[137]

Malta

The killing of Fathi Shiqaqi. Shiqaqi, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was shot several times in the head in 1995 in front of the Diplomat Hotel in SliemaMalta.[138]

Norway

On July 21, 1973, Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, was killed by Mossad agents. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September, the Palestinian group responsible for the Munich massacre, who had been given shelter in Norway. Mossad agents had used fake Canadian passports, which angered the Canadian government. Six Mossad agents were arrested, and the incident came to be known as the Lillehammer affair. Israel subsequently paid compensation to Bouchiki's family.[137][139][140]

Serbia

Israel provided weapons to the Serbs during the Bosnian War, possibly due to the pro-Serbian bias of the government of the time,[141] or possibly in exchange for the immigration of the Sarajevo Jewish community to Israel.[142] The Mossad allegedly was responsible for providing Serbian groups with arms.[143]

Switzerland

According to secret CIA and US State Department documents discovered by the Iranian students who took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979:

In Switzerland the Israelis have an Embassy in Bern and a Consulate-General in Zürich which provide cover for Collection Department officers involved in unilateral operations. These Israeli diplomatic installations also maintain close relations with the Swiss on a local level in regard to overt functions such as physical security for Israeli official and commercial installations in the country and the protection of staff members and visiting Israelis. There is also close collaboration between the Israelis and Swiss on scientific and technical matters pertaining to intelligence and security operations. Swiss officials have made frequent trips to Israel. There is a continual flow of Israelis to and through Switzerland. These visits, however, are usually arranged through the Political Action and Liaison regional controller at the Embassy in Paris directly with the Swiss and not through the officials in the Israeli Embassy in Bern, although the latter are kept informed.[citation needed]

In February 1998, five Mossad agents were caught wiretapping the home of a Hezbollah agent in a Bern suburb. Four agents were freed, but the fifth was tried, found guilty, sentenced to one year in prison, and following his release was banned from entering Switzerland for five years.[144]

Soviet Union

Mossad was involved in outreach to refuseniks in the Soviet Union during the crackdown on Soviet Jews in the period between the 1950s and the 1980s. Mossad helped establish contact with Refuseniks in the USSR, and helped them acquire Jewish religious items, banned by the Soviet government, in addition to passing communications into and out of the USSR. Many rabbinical students from Western countries travelled to the Soviet Union as part of this program in order to establish and maintain contact with refuseniks.

United Kingdom

In 1984 Mossad agents were caught attempting to kidnap Nigerian politician Umaru Dikko from London. On July 4, 1984 customs officials at Stansted airport discovered Dikko in a crate about to be flown to Nigeria. Agents Alexander Barak, Felix Abithol and anesthetist Dr Levi-Arie Shapiro were given prison sentences of between ten and fourteen years.

In 1986, a bag containing eight forged British passports was discovered in a telephone booth in West Germany. The passports had been the work of Mossad and were intended for the Israeli Embassy in London for use in covert operations. The British government, furious, demanded that Israel give a promise not forge its passports again, which was obtained.[145]

On June 15, 1988, following the trial and conviction of a Palestinian post-graduate student studying at Hull University, Ismail Sowan, two Mossad agents were expelled from the UK. Sowan was found in possession of a large arms cache and was sentenced to eleven years in prison. During his trial it had been revealed that he had employed by Mossad for ten years. The Mossad agents, Arie Regev and Jacob Barad, were Sowan’s controllers. They had failed to inform MI6 of Sowan’s activities and that they were aware that a Palestinian, Abd al-Rahim Mustapha, believed to be involved in the assassination of Naji al-Ali had entered the country illegally.[146] The Mossad station in UK remained closed until the 1994 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London.

Ukraine

In February 2011, a Palestinian engineer, Dirar Abu Seesi, was allegedly pulled off a train by Mossad agents en route to the capital Kyiv from Kharkiv. He had been planning to apply for Ukrainian citizenship, and reappeared in an Israeli jail only three weeks after the incident.[147]

Oceania

New Zealand

In July 2004, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident in which two Australia-based Israelis, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, who were allegedly working for Mossad, attempted to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports by claiming the identity of a severely disabled man. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom later apologized to New Zealand for their actions. New Zealand cancelled several other passports believed to have been obtained by Israeli agents.[148] Both Kelman and Cara served half of their six-month sentences and, upon release, were deported to Israel. Two others, an Israeli, Ze'ev Barkan, and a New Zealander, David Reznick, are believed to have been the third and fourth men involved in the passport affair but they both managed to leave New Zealand before being apprehended.[149]

In popular culture

Films (including made-for-television movies)
Literature

(Alphabetical by author's surname)

  • In Jeffrey Archer's novel Honour Among Thieves (1993), the lead female protagonist is a Mossad agent.
  • In book 4 of Mark Greaney's Gray Man series, Dead Eye, Mossad and the CIA partner to capture the world's most feared and lethal rogue former black ops agent Courtland Gentry.
  • Daniel Silva's spy novel series is centered on fictional Mossad agent and assassin, Gabriel Allon. The term "Mossad" is never used in the novels, but the protagonist is described as working for Israel's intelligence service (which the characters refer to simply as "the Office").
  • John Le Carre's novel The Little Drummer Girl (1983) describes a fictional Mossad operation against Palestinian terrorists.
  • Frederick Forsyth's novel The Fist of God describes the inner workings of various Mossad divisions.
Television

(Alphabetical by show)

  • Tehran (2020–present) is a spy thriller television series about a Mossad agent working undercover in Iran.
  • In the TV series The Blacklist (2013–present), Mossad agent Samar Navabi (played by Mozhan Marnò) is one of the side characters.
  • In the TV series Covert Affairs (2010–2015), Mossad agent Eyal Lavin is a recurring character.
  • Since the NCIS season 3 episode "Kill Ari (Part 1)" (2005), Mossad has played an instrumental part. Mossad's presence includes one of the main characters, Agent Ziva David, who is a former Mossad Agent. She originally filled the position of Mossad liaison to NCIS, until the end of season 7, when she became a full-time NCIS agent. Her father, Eli David, was the director of Mossad, until the season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom", when he was killed. Many other characters have been included in the show from Mossad, including Michael Rivkin and Ari Haswari. Some episodes of the show have taken place in Israel.
  • The Spy (2019) is a web television miniseries on the life of top Mossad spy Eli Cohen.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Also referred to as "the Mossad" (Hebrewהַמּוֹסָדromanizedha-MosádIPA: [hamoˈsad]Arabicالموسادromanizedal-MōsādIPA: [almoːˈsaːd]lit.'the Institute').
  2. ^ Argentina claimed that the "illicit and clandestine transfer of Eichmann from Argentine territory constitutes a flagrant violation of the Argentine State's right of sovereignty[.]"[43] In Eichmann's case, the most salient feature from the perspective of international law was the fact of Israeli law enforcement action in another state's territory without consent; the human element includes the dramatic circumstances of the capture by Mossad agents and the ensuing custody and transfer to Israel[.][44] At its most obvious level this means that the exercise of enforcement jurisdiction within the territory of another state will be a violation of territorial integrity. For example, after Adolf Eichmann [...] was abducted from Argentina by a group of Israelis, now known to be from the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad), the Argentine Government lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council [...] It is however unclear whether as a matter of international law the obligation to make reparation for a violation of territorial sovereignty such as that involved in the Eichmann case includes an obligation to return the offender.[45]

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Further reading

External links

 
 

A Note on the Sources

Prologue

Chapter 1: In Blood and Fire

Chapter 2: A Secret World Is Born

Chapter 3: The Bureau for Arranging Meetings with God

Chapter 4: The Entire Supreme Command, with One Blow

Chapter 5: “As If the Sky Were Falling on Our Heads”

Chapter 6: A Series of Catastrophes

Chapter 7: “Armed Struggle Is the Only Way to Liberate Palestine”

Chapter 8: Meir Dagan and His Expertise

Chapter 9: The PLO Goes International

Chapter 10: “I Have No Problem with Anyone That I’ve Killed”

Chapter 11: “Wrong Identification of a Target Is Not a Failure. It’s a Mistake.”

Chapter 12: Hubris

Chapter 13: Death in the Toothpaste

Chapter 14: A Pack of Wild Dogs

Chapter 15: “Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal”

Chapter 16: Black Flag

Chapter 17: The Shin Bet Coup

Chapter 18: Then Came a Spark

Chapter 19: Intifada

Chapter 20: Nebuchadnezzar

Chapter 21: Green Storm Rising

Chapter 22: The Age of the Drone

Chapter 23: Mughniyeh’s Revenge

Chapter 24: “Just One Switch, Off and On”

Chapter 25: “Bring Us the Head of Ayyash”

Chapter 26: “Sly as a Snake, Naïve as a Little Child”

Chapter 27: A Low Point

Chapter 28: All-Out War

Chapter 29: “More Suicide Bombers Than Explosive Vests”

Chapter 30: “The Target Has Been Eliminated, but the Operation Failed”

Chapter 31: The Rebellion in Unit 8200

Chapter 32: Picking Anemones

Chapter 33: The Radical Front

Chapter 34: Killing Maurice

Chapter 35: Impressive Tactical Success, Disastrous Strategic Failure

Photo Insert

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography

Other Titles

About the Author

History

Mossad was formed on December 13, 1949, as the Central Institute for Coordination at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army's intelligence department (AMAN), the Internal Security Service (Shin Bet), and the Political Intelligence Service (Mossad).[2][3][4] The central body governing the three security services was Va'adat;[4] today it is the Ministry of Intelligence.[5]

In March 1951, it was reorganized and incorporated into the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the Prime Minister of Israel.[3] Due to Mossad's accountability directly to the prime minister and not to the Knesset, journalist Ronen Bergman has described Mossad as a "deep state".[6]

In the 1990s, Aliza Magen-Halevi became the highest-ranking woman in Mossad's history when she served as the agency's deputy director under Shabtai Shavit and Danny Yatom.[7]

The Mossad made an unusual move on Israel's 68th Independence Day by releasing a secret recruitment ad for its Cyber Division. The ad featured seemingly random letters and numbers, which turned out to be a hidden puzzle. Over 25,000 people attempted to solve it, and while most failed, dozens succeeded and were recruited.[8] In a rare 2012 interview with "Lady Globes," Mossad fighters talked about the recruitment of men and women to the Mossad, the screening tests, their work in the Mossad alongside starting a family, the relationship between the time to prepare for the actions and the actions themselves, working in teams, the emotional intelligence required of them, the nature of the activity, avoiding fame and omnipotence, and conversations with enemies.[9]

 

THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD, TRACTATE SANHEDRIN, PORTION 72, VERSE 1

 

A Note On The Sources#

THE ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY guards its secrets jealously. Its near-total  opacity is protected by a complex array of laws and protocols, strict military  censorship, and the intimidation, interrogation, and prosecution of journalists and  their sources, as well as a natural solidarity and loyalty among the espionage  agencies’ personnel.

All glimpses behind the scenes have, to this day, been partial at best.

How then, it might reasonably be asked, to write a book about one of the most  secretive organizations on earth?

Efforts to persuade the Israeli defense establishment to cooperate with the  research for this project went nowhere. Requests to the intelligence community  that it comply with the law by transferring its historical documents to the State  Archive and allowing publication of materials fifty years old or more were met  with stony silence. A petition to the Supreme Court for an order forcing  compliance with the law was dragged out over years, with the complicity of the  court, and ended with nothing but an amendment to the law itself: The secrecy  provisions were extended from fifty to seventy years, longer than the history of the  state.

The defense establishment did not merely sit with folded arms. As early as  2010, before the contract for this book was even signed, a special meeting was  held in the Mossad’s operations division, Caesarea, to discuss ways of disrupting my research. Letters were written to all former Mossad employees warning them  against giving interviews, and individual conversations were held with certain ex-  staffers who were considered the most problematic. Later in 2011, the chief of the

General Staff of the IDF, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, asked the Shin Bet  to take aggressive steps against the author, claiming that I had perpetrated  “aggravated espionage” by having in my possession classified secrets and “using  classified material in order to disparage me [Ashkenazi] personally.” Since then,  several actions have been taken by various bodies to stop publication of the book, or at least large parts of it.

The military censor requires the Israeli media to add the words “according to  foreign publications” whenever it mentions secret actions attributed to Israeli  intelligence, primarily targeted assassinations. This is to make it clear that the  existence of the publication does not constitute official acknowledgment of Israel’s  responsibility. In this sense, then, this book must be taken as a “foreign publication” whose contents do not have any official Israeli confirmation.

None of the thousand interviews upon which this book is based—with sources  ranging from political leaders and chiefs of intelligence agencies to the operatives  themselves—were approved by Israel’s defense establishment. Most of the sources  are identified by their names. Others understandably feared being identified and  are therefore referred to by their initials or nicknames, in addition to any details about them I was able to provide while still keeping their identities secret.

I have also made use of thousands of documents given to me by these sources,  all of which are referenced for the first time here. My sources never received  permission to remove these documents from their places of employment, and  certainly did not have permission to pass them on to me. This book is thus about  as far as possible from an authorized history of Israeli intelligence.

So, why did these sources speak with me and supply me with these documents?

Each had his own motive, and sometimes the story behind the scenes was only a  little less interesting than the content of the interview itself. It is clear that some  politicians and intelligence personnel—two professions highly skilled in  manipulation and deception—were trying to use me as the conduit for their  preferred version of events, or to shape history to suit themselves. I have tried to  thwart such attempts by cross-checking with as many written and oral sources as I  could.

But it seemed to me that there was often another motive, which had much to do  with a particularly Israeli contradiction: On the one hand, nearly everything in the  country related to intelligence and national security is classified as “top secret.” On the other hand, everyone wants to speak about what they’ve done. Acts that people  in other countries might be ashamed to admit to are instead a source of pride for  Israelis, because they are collectively perceived as imperatives of national security,  necessary to protect threatened Israeli lives, if not the very existence of the  embattled state.

After a time, the Mossad did manage to block access to some of my sources (in  most cases only after they had already spoken to me). Many more have died since I  met them, most of natural causes. Thus, the firsthand accounts that these men and  women have given for this book—men and women who witnessed and participated  in significant historic events—are in fact the only ones that exist outside the vaults  of the defense establishment’s secret archives.

Occasionally, they are the only ones that exist at all. required in his German school to give the Nazi salute and sing the party anthem.

He returned as a soldier to a Europe in ruins, his people nearly destroyed, their  communities smoldering ruins. “The Jewish people had been humiliated, trampled,  murdered,” he said. “Now was the time to strike back, to take revenge. In my dreams, when I enlisted, revenge took the form of me arresting my best friend  from Germany, whose name was Detlef, the son of a police major. That’s how I  would restore lost Jewish honor.”

It was that sense of lost honor, of a people’s humiliation, as much as rage at the  Nazis, that drove men like Gichon. He first met the Jewish refugees on the border  between Austria and Italy. The men of the Brigade fed them, took off their own  uniforms to clothe them against the cold, tried to draw out of them details of the  atrocities they had undergone. He remembers an encounter in June 1945 in which

a female refugee came up to him.

“She broke away from her group and spoke to me in German,” he said. “She  said, ‘You, the soldiers of the Brigade, are the sons of Bar Kokhba’ ”—the great  hero of the Second Jewish Revolt against the Romans, in A.D. 132–135. “She said,

‘I will always remember your insignia and what you did for us.’ ”

Gichon was flattered by the Bar Kokhba analogy, but for her praise and  gratitude, Gichon felt only pity and shame. If the Jews in the Brigade were the sons  of Bar Kokhba, who were these Jews? The soldiers from the Land of Israel,

standing erect, tough, and strong, saw the Holocaust survivors as victims who  needed help, but also as part of the European Jewry who had allowed themselves  to be massacred. They embodied the cowardly, feeble stereotype of the Jews of

the Diaspora—the Exile, in traditional Jewish and Zionist parlance—who  surrendered rather than fought back, who did not know how to shoot or wield a  weapon. It was that image—in its most extreme version, the Jew as a Muselmann,  prisoners’ slang for the emaciated, zombie-like inmates hovering near death in the  Nazi camps—that the new Jews of the Yishuv rejected. “My brain could not grasp,

not then and not today, how it could have been that there were tens of thousands of  Jews in a camp with only a few German guards, but they did not rise up, they  simply went like lambs to the slaughter,” Gichon said more than sixty years later.

“Why didn’t they tear [the Germans] to shreds? I’ve always said that no such thing  could happen in the Land of Israel. Had those communities had leaders worthy of  the name, the entire business would have looked completely different.”

In the years following the war, the Zionists of the Yishuv would prove, both to  the world and, more important, to themselves, that Jews would never again go to  such slaughter—and that Jewish blood would not come cheaply. The six million

would be avenged.

“We thought we could not rest until we had exacted blood for blood, death for  death,” said Hanoch Bartov, a highly regarded Israeli novelist who enlisted in the  Brigade a month before his seventeenth birthday.

Such vengeance, though—atrocity for atrocity—would violate the rules of war  and likely be disastrous for the Zionist cause. Ben-Gurion, practical as always,  publicly said as much: “Revenge now is an act of no national value. It cannot  restore life to the millions who were murdered.”

Still, the Haganah’s leaders privately understood the need for some sort of  retribution, both to satisfy the troops who had been exposed to the atrocities and  also to achieve some degree of historical justice and deter future attempts to slaughter Jews. Thus, they sanctioned some types of reprisals against the Nazis and  their accomplices. Immediately after the war, a secret unit, authorized and  controlled by the Haganah high command and unknown to the British  commanders, was set up within the Brigade. It was called Gmul, Hebrew for  “Recompense.”

The unit’s mission was “revenge, but not a robber’s revenge,” as a  secret memo at the time put it. “Revenge against those SS men who themselves  took part in the slaughter.”

“We looked for big fish,” Mordechai Gichon said, breaking a vow of silence  among the Gmul commanders that he’d kept for more than sixty years. “The senior  Nazis who had managed to shed their uniforms and return to their homes.”

The Gmul agents worked undercover even as they performed their regular  Brigade duties. Gichon himself assumed two fake identities—one as a German  civilian, the other as a British major—as he hunted Nazis. In expeditions under his  German cover, Gichon recovered the Gestapo archives in Tarvisio, Villach, and  Klagenfurt, to which fleeing Nazis had set fire but only a small part of which  actually burned. Operating as the British major, he gleaned more names from  Yugoslavian Communists who were still afraid to carry out revenge attacks themselves. A few Jews in American intelligence also were willing to help by  handing over information they had on escaped Nazis, which they thought the  Palestinian Jews would use to better effect than the American military.

Coercion worked, too. In June 1945, Gmul agents found a Polish-born German  couple who lived in Tarvisio. The wife had been involved in transferring stolen  Jewish property from Austria and Italy to Germany, and her husband had helped run the regional Gestapo office. The Palestinian Jewish soldiers offered them a  stark choice: cooperate or die.

“The goy broke and said he was willing to cooperate,” said Yisrael Karmi, who  interrogated the couple and later, after Israel was born, would become the  commander of the Israeli Army’s military police. “I assigned him to prepare lists of all the senior officials that he knew and who had worked with the Gestapo and  the SS. Name, date of birth, education, and positions.”

The result was a dramatic intelligence breakthrough, a list of dozens of names.

Gmul’s men tracked down each missing Nazi—finding some wounded in a local  hospital, where they were being treated under stolen aliases—and then pressured  those men to provide more information. They promised each German he would

not be harmed if he cooperated, so most did. Then, when they were no longer  useful, Gmul agents shot them and dumped the bodies. There was no sense in  leaving them alive to tip the British command to Gmul’s clandestine mission.

Once a particular name had been verified, the second phase began: locating the  target and gathering information for the final killing mission. Gichon, who’d been born in Germany, often was assigned that job. “No one suspected me,” he said.

“My vocal cords were of Berlin stock. I’d go to the corner grocery store or pub or  even just knock on a door to convey greetings from someone. Most of the time,  the people would respond [to their real names] or recoil into vague silence, which  was as good as a confirmation.” Once the identification was confirmed, Gichon  would track the German’s movements and provide a detailed sketch of the house

where he lived or the area that had been chosen for the abduction.

The killers themselves worked in teams of no more than five men. When  meeting their target, they generally wore British military police uniforms, and they  typically told their target they had come to take a man named so-and-so for  interrogation. Most of the time, the German came without objection. As one of the  unit’s soldiers, Shalom Giladi, related in his testimony to the Haganah Archive, the

Nazi was sometimes killed instantly, and other times transported to some remote  spot before being killed. “In time we developed quiet, rapid, and efficient methods  of taking care of the SS men who fell into our hands,” he said.

As anyone who has ever gotten into a pickup truck knows, a person hoisting himself up  into one braces his foot on the rear running board, leans forward under the canvas canopy,  and sort of rolls in. The man lying in wait inside the truck would take advantage of this natural tilt of the body.

The minute the German’s head protruded into the gloom, the ambusher would bend over  him and wrap his arms under his chin—around his throat—in a kind of reverse choke hold,  and, carrying that into a throttle embrace, the ambusher would fall back flat on the mattress, undergrounds had their killing campaign in full motion, trying to push the British out of Palestine.

Yitzhak Shamir, now in command of Lehi, resolved not only to eliminate key  figures of the British Mandate locally—killing CID personnel and making  numerous attempts to do the same to the Jerusalem police chief, Michael Joseph  McConnell, and the high commissioner, Sir Harold MacMichael—but also  Englishmen in other countries who posed a threat to his political objective. Walter  Edward Guinness, more formally known as Lord Moyne, for example, was the  British resident minister of state in Cairo, which was also under British rule. The  Jews in Palestine considered Moyne a flagrant anti-Semite who had assiduously  used his position to restrict the Yishuv’s power by significantly reducing immigration quotas for Holocaust survivors.

Shamir ordered Moyne killed. He sent two Lehi operatives, Eliyahu Hakim and  Eliyahu Bet-Zuri, to Cairo, where they waited at the door to Moyne’s house. When  Moyne pulled up, his secretary in the car with him, Hakim and Bet-Zuri sprinted  to the car. One of them shoved a pistol through the window, aimed it at Moyne’s  head, and fired three times. Moyne gripped his throat. “Oh, they’ve shot us!” he

cried, and then slumped forward in his seat. Still, it was an amateurish operation.

Shamir had counseled his young killers to arrange to escape in a car, but instead  they fled on slow-moving bicycles. Egyptian police quickly apprehended them, and  Hakim and Bet-Zuri were tried, convicted, and, six months later, hanged.

The assassination had a decisive effect on British officials, though not the one  Shamir had envisioned. As Israel would learn repeatedly in future years, it is very  hard to predict how history will proceed after someone is shot in the head.

After the unmitigated evil of the Holocaust, the attempted extermination of an  entire people in Europe, there was growing sympathy in the West for the Zionist  cause. According to some accounts, up until the first week of November 1944,

Britain’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, had been pushing his cabinet to  support the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. He rallied several influential  figures to back the initiative—including Lord Moyne. It is not a stretch to assume,

then, that Churchill might well have arrived at the Yalta summit with Franklin  Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin with a clear, positive policy regarding the future of a  Jewish state, had Lehi not intervened. Instead, after the Cairo killing, Churchill  labeled the attackers “a new group of gangsters” and announced that he was  reconsidering his position.

And the killing continued. On July 22, 1946, members of Menachem Begin’s

Irgun planted 350 KG explosives in the south wing of the King David Hotel, in  Jerusalem, where the British Mandate’s administration and army and intelligence  offices were housed. A warning call from the Irgun apparently was dismissed as a  hoax; the building was not evacuated before a massive explosion ripped through it.

Ninety-one people were killed, and forty-five wounded.

This was not the targeted killing of a despised British official or a guerrilla  attack on a police station. Instead, it was plainly an act of terror, aimed at a target  with numerous civilians inside. Most damningly, many Jews were among the  casualties.

The King David Hotel bombing sparked a fierce dispute in the Yishuv. Ben-  Gurion immediately denounced the Irgun and called it “an enemy of the Jewish  people.”

But the extremists were not deterred.

Three months after the King David attack, on October 31, a Lehi cell, again  acting on their own, without Ben-Gurion’s approval or knowledge, bombed the  British embassy in Rome. The embassy building was severely damaged, but thanks  to the fact that the operation took place at night, only a security guard and two  Italian pedestrians were injured.

Almost immediately after that, Lehi mailed letter bombs to every senior British  cabinet member in London. On one level, this effort was a spectacular failure—not  a single letter exploded—but on another, Lehi had made its point, and its reach,  clear. The files of MI5, Britain’s security service, showed that Zionist terrorism  was considered the most serious threat to British national security at the time—

even more serious than the Soviet Union. Irgun cells in Britain were established,  according to one MI5 memo, “to beat the dog in its own kennel.” British  intelligence sources warned of a wave of attacks on “selected VIPs,” among them  Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and even Prime Minister Clement Attlee himself.

At the end of 1947, a report to the British high commissioner tallied the casualties  of the previous two years: 176 British Mandate personnel and civilians killed.

“Only these actions, these executions, caused the British to leave,” David  Shomron said, decades after he shot Tom Wilkin dead on a Jerusalem street. “If [Avraham] Stern had not begun the war, the State of Israel would not have come into being.”

One may argue with these statements. The shrinking British Empire ceded  control of the majority of its colonies, including many countries where terror  tactics had not been employed, due to economic reasons and increased demands  for independence from the native populations. India, for instance, gained its  independence right around the same time. Nevertheless, Shomron and his ilk were firmly convinced that their own bravery and their extreme methods had brought  about the departure of the British.

And it was the men who fought that bloody underground war—guerrillas, assassins, terrorists—who would play a central role in the building of the new state  of Israel’s armed forces and intelligence community office in the former Templer colony in Tel Aviv. “Intelligence is one of the military and political tools that we urgently need for this war,” Shiloah wrote in a memo to Ben-Gurion. “It will have to become a permanent tool, including in our [peacetime] political apparatus.”

Ben-Gurion did not need to be persuaded. After all, a large part of the  surprising, against-all-odds establishment of the state, and its defense, was owed to  the effective use of accurate intelligence. 

That day, he ordered the establishment of three agencies. The first was the  Intelligence Department of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff, later  commonly referred to by its Hebrew acronym, AMAN. Second was the Shin Bet  (acronym for the General Security Service), responsible for internal security and  created as a sort of hybrid between the American FBI and the British MI5. (The  organization later changed its name to the Israeli Security Agency, but most  Israelis still refer to it by its acronym, Shabak, or, more commonly, as in this book,  as Shin Bet.) And a third, the Political Department—now belonging to the new  Foreign Ministry, instead of the Jewish Agency—would engage in foreign espionage and intelligence collection. Abandoned Templer homes in the Sarona  neighborhood, near the Defense Ministry, were assigned to each outfit, putting  Ben-Gurion’s office at the center of an ostensibly organized force of security services.

But nothing in those first months and years was so tidy. Remnants of Haganah  agencies were absorbed into various security services or spy rings, then shuffled  and reabsorbed into another. Add to that the myriad turf battles and clashing egos  of what were essentially revolutionaries, and much was chaos in the espionage  underground. “They were hard years,” said Isser Harel, one of the founding fathers

of Israeli intelligence. “We had to establish a country and defend it. [But] the  structure of the services and the division of labor was determined without any  systematic judgment, without discussions with all the relevant people, in an almost dilettantish and conspiratorial way.”

Under normal conditions, administrators would establish clear boundaries and  procedures, and field agents would patiently cultivate sources of information over a  period of years. But Israel did not have this luxury. Its intelligence operations had  to be built on the fly and under siege, while the young country was fighting for its  very existence.

THE FIRST CHALLENGE THAT Ben-Gurion’s spies faced was an internal one: There  were Jews who blatantly defied his authority, among them the remnants of the  right-wing underground movements. An extreme example of this defiance was the  Altalena affair, in June 1948. A ship by that name, dispatched from Europe by the  Irgun, was due to arrive, carrying immigrants and arms. But the organization

refused to hand all the weapons over to the army of the new state, insisting that  some of them be given to still intact units of its own. Ben-Gurion, who had been  informed of the plans by agents inside Irgun, ordered that the ship be taken over by  force. In the ensuing fight, it was sunk, and sixteen Irgun fighters and three IDF  soldiers were killed. Shortly afterward, security forces rounded up two hundred  Irgun members all over the country, effectively ending its existence.

Yitzhak Shamir and the Lehi operatives under his command also refused to  accept the more moderate Ben-Gurion’s authority. Over the summer, during the  truce, UN envoy Bernadotte crafted a tentative peace plan that would have ended  the fighting. But the plan was unacceptable to Lehi and Shamir, who accused  Bernadotte of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II and of drafting a  proposal that would redraw Israeli borders in such a way—including giving most  of the Negev and Jerusalem to the Arabs, and putting the Haifa port and Lydda

airport under international control, as well as obliging the Jewish state to take back  300,000 Arab refugees—that the country would not survive.

Lehi issued several public warnings, in the form of notices posted in the streets

of cities:

ADVICE TO THE AGENT BERNADOTTE: CLEAR OUT OF OUR COUNTRY.

The  underground radio was even more outspoken, declaring, “The Count will end up  like the Lord” (a reference to the assassinated Lord Moyne). Bernadotte ignored  mthe warnings, and even ordered UN observers not to carry arms, saying, “The  United Nations flag protects us.”

Convinced that the envoy’s plan would be accepted, Shamir ordered his  assassination. On September 17, four months after statehood was declared, and the  day after Bernadotte submitted his plan to the UN Security Council, he was traveling with his entourage in a convoy of three white DeSoto sedans from UN  headquarters to the Rehavia neighborhood of Jewish Jerusalem, when a jeep  blocked their way. Three young men wearing peaked caps jumped out. Two of  them shot the tires of the UN vehicles, and the third, Yehoshua Cohen, opened the  door of the car Bernadotte was traveling in and opened fire with his Schmeisser

MP40 submachine gun. The first burst hit the man sitting next to Bernadotte, a  French colonel by the name of André Serot, but the next, more accurate, hit the  count in the chest. Both men were killed. The whole attack was over in seconds —“like thunder and lightning, the time it takes to fire fifty rounds,” is the way the  Israeli liaison officer, Captain Moshe Hillman, who was in the car with the  victims, described it. The perpetrators were never caught.

The assassination infuriated and profoundly embarrassed the Jewish leadership.

The Security Council condemned it as “a cowardly act which appears to have been  committed by a criminal group of terrorists in Jerusalem,” and The New York  Times wrote the following day, “No Arab armies could have done so much harm [to the Jewish state] in so short a time.”

Ben-Gurion saw Lehi’s rogue operation as a serious challenge to his authority,  one that could lead to a coup or even a civil war. He reacted immediately,  outlawing both the Irgun and Lehi. He ordered Shin Bet chief Isser Harel to round

up Lehi members. Topping the wanted list was Yitzhak Shamir. He wasn’t  captured, but many others were, and they were locked up under heavy guard. Lehi  ceased to exist as an organization.

Ben-Gurion was grateful to Harel for his vigorous action against the  underground and made him the number-one intelligence official in the country.

A short, solid, and driven man, Isser Harel was influenced by the Russian  Bolshevik revolutionary movement and its use of sabotage, guerrilla warfare, and  assassination, but he abhorred communism. Under his direction, the Shin Bet kept

constant surveillance and conducted political espionage against Ben-Gurion’s  political opponents, the left-wing socialist and Communist parties, and the right-  wing Herut party formed by veterans of Irgun and Lehi.

Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion and his foreign minister, Moshe Sharett, were at  loggerheads over what policy should be adopted toward the Arabs. Sharett was the  most prominent of Israel’s early leaders who believed diplomacy was the best way  to achieve regional peace and thus secure the country. Even before independence,  he made secret overtures to Jordan’s King Abdullah and Lebanon’s prime minister, Riad al-Solh, who would be instrumental in forming the coalition of invading  Arabs, and who already had been largely responsible for the Palestinian militias  that exacted heavy losses on the pre-state Yishuv. Despite al-Solh’s virulently anti- Jewish rhetoric and anti-Israel actions, he secretly met with Eliyahu Sasson, one of  Sharett’s deputies, several times in Paris in late 1948 to discuss a peace agreement.

“If we want to establish contacts with the Arabs to end the war,” said Sasson when  Sharett, enthusiastic about his secret contacts, took him to report to the cabinet,

“we have to be in contact with those people who are now in power. With those  who have declared war on us…and who are having trouble continuing.”

 

 

Organization

Divisions

The organizational structure of the Mossad is officially classified. Mossad is organized into divisions, led by a director who is equivalent to a major general in the Israel Defense Forces.[10]

  • Tzomet: Mossad's largest division, staffed with case officers called katsas tasked with conducting espionage overseas and running agents.[11] Employees in Tzomet operate under a variety of covers, including diplomatic and unofficial. The division was led from 2006 to 2011 by Yossi Cohen[12] and from 2013 to 2019 by David Barnea, both of whom later served as Mossad directors.[13]
  • Caesarea: conducts special operations and houses the Kidon (Hebrew: כידון, "bayonet", "javelin" or a "spear") unit, an elite group of assassins.[14]
  • Keshet ("Rainbow"): electronic surveillance, break-ins, and wiretapping[10]
  • Human Resources[10]
  • A special unit called Metsada allegedly runs "small units of combatants" whose missions include "assassinations and sabotage".[15][better source needed]

Venture capital

Mossad opened a venture capital fund in June 2017,[16] to invest in high-tech startups to develop new cyber technologies.[17] The names of technology startups funded by Mossad are not published.[17]

Personnel

Katsa

katsa is a field intelligence officer of the Mossad.[18] The word katsa is a Hebrew acronym for Hebrewקצין איסוףromanizedktsin issuf, "intelligence officer", literally "gathering officer". A katsa is a case officer who runs agents to clandestinely collect intelligence.

Kidon

The kidon are Mossad's elite assassins. Recruits receive two years of training at Mossad's training facility near Herzliya.[11]

Sayanim

Sayanim (Hebrewסייענים, lit. helpers, assistants)[19] are unpaid Jewish civilians who help Mossad out of a sense of devotion to Israel.[20] They are recruited by Mossad's field agents, katsas, to provide logistical support for Mossad operations.[11] A sayan running a rental agency, for instance, could help Mossad agents rent a car without the usual documentation.[21][22] The usage of sayanim allows the Mossad to operate with a slim budget yet conduct vast operations worldwide.[23] Sayanim can have dual citizenships but are often not Israeli citizens.[24][25]

According to Gordon Thomas, there were 4,000 sayanim in Britain and some 16,000 in the United States in 1998.[21]

Israeli students called bodlim are often used as gofers for Mossad.[26]

Directors of the Mossad in 2015

 

 

Motto

Mossad's former motto, be-tachbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milchāmāh (Hebrewבתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה) is a quote from the Bible (Proverbs 24:6): "For by wise guidance you can wage your war" (NRSV). The motto was later[when?] changed to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tachbūlōt yippol `ām; ū-teshū`āh be-rov yō'éts (Hebrewבאין תחבולות יפול עם, ותשועה ברוב יועץ, Proverbs 11:14). This is translated by NRSV as: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."[27]

Directors of Mossad

About half of the Mossad's leaders rose through its ranks, while the rest are retired IDF soldiers appointed to head the agency. The Prime Minister personally appoints the head of the Mossad for Intelligence and Special Duties without needing government or other supervisory body approval (unlike the Chief of Staff or the Shin Bet's head). The appointment undergoes review by the advisory committee for appointing senior civil service officials. The term is five years, extendable by the Prime Minister for another year without conditions.[28]

Until 1996, the head of the Mossad's name was kept confidential. The Mossad argued that secrecy allowed the head to move freely worldwide. In response to public criticism, the government began revealing the head's name when Danny Yatom assumed office.[29]

 

Alleged operations

Operation Harpoon

Together with Shurat HaDin, Mossad[when?] started Operation Harpoon, for "destroying terrorists' money networks".[30][31]

Africa

Egypt

  • Provision of intelligence for the cutting of communications between Port Said and Cairo in 1956.[citation needed]
  • Mossad spy Wolfgang Lotz, holding West German citizenship, infiltrated Egypt in 1957, and gathered intelligence on Egyptian missile sites, military installations, and industries. He also composed a list of German rocket scientists working for the Egyptian government, and sent some of them letter bombs. After the East German head of state made a state visit to Egypt, the Egyptian government detained thirty West German citizens as a goodwill gesture. Lotz, assuming that he had been discovered, confessed to his cold war espionage activities.[32]
  • After a tense May 25, 1967, confrontation with CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden, who warned that the United States would help defend Egypt if Israel launched a surprise attack, Mossad director Meir Amit flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and reported back to the Israeli cabinet that the United States had given Israel "a flickering green light" to attack.[33]
  • Provision of intelligence on the Egyptian Air Force for Operation Focus, the opening air strike of the Six-Day War.
  • Operation Bulmus 6 – Intelligence assistance in the Commando Assault on Green Island, Egypt during the War of Attrition.[citation needed]
  • Operation Damocles – A campaign of assassination and intimidation against German rocket scientists employed by Egypt in building missiles.[citation needed]
    • A bomb sent to the Heliopolis rocket factory killed five Egyptian workers, allegedly sent by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.[34]
    • Heinz Krug, 49, the chief of a Munich company supplying military hardware to Egypt disappeared in September 1962 and is believed to have been assassinated by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.[34]

Morocco

In September 1956, Mossad established a secretive network in Morocco to smuggle Moroccan Jews to Israel after a ban on immigration to Israel was imposed.[35]

In early 1991, two Mossad operatives infiltrated the Moroccan port of Casablanca and planted a tracking device on the freighter Al-Yarmouk, which was carrying a cargo of North Korean missiles bound for Syria. The ship was to be sunk by the Israeli Air Force, but the mission was later called off by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.[36]

Tunisia

The 1988 killing of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), a founder of Fatah.[37]

The alleged killing of Salah Khalaf, head of intelligence of the PLO and second in command of Fatah behind Yasser Arafat, in 1991.[38]

The 2016 alleged killing of Hamas operative Mohamed Zouari in Tunisia. Known to Israel's security echelon as "The Engineer", he was a Hamas-affiliated engineer who was believed to be constructing drones for the group. He was shot at close range.[39][40]

Uganda

For Operation Entebbe in 1976, Mossad provided intelligence regarding Entebbe International Airport[41] and extensively interviewed hostages who had been released.[42]

South Africa

In the late 1990s, after Mossad was tipped off to the presence of two Iranian agents in Johannesburg on a mission to procure advanced weapons systems from Denel, a Mossad agent was deployed, and met up with a local Jewish contact. Posing as South African intelligence, they abducted the Iranians, drove them to a warehouse, and beat and intimidated them before forcing them to leave the country.[36]

Sudan

After the 1994 AMIA bombing, the largest bombing in Argentine history, Mossad began gathering intelligence for a raid by Israeli Special Forces on the Iranian embassy in Khartoum as retaliation. The operation was called off due to fears that another attack against worldwide Jewish communities might take place as revenge. Mossad also assisted in Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel from a famine-ridden region of Sudan in 1984, also maintaining a relationship with the Ethiopian government. [citation needed]

Americas

Argentina

In 1960, Mossad discovered that the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was in Argentina. A team of five Mossad agents led by Shimon Ben Aharon slipped into Argentina and, through surveillance, confirmed that he had been living there under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was abducted on May 11, 1960 and taken to a hideout. He was subsequently smuggled to Israel, where he was tried and executed. Argentina protested what it considered as a violation of its sovereignty, and the United Nations Security Council noted that "repetition of acts such as [this] would involve a breach of the principles upon which international order is founded, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and distrust incompatible with the preservation of peace" while also acknowledging that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."[b][46] Mossad abandoned a second operation, intended to capture Josef Mengele.[47]

United States

During the 1990s, Mossad discovered that a Hezbollah agent was operating inside the United States to procure materials needed to manufacture IEDs and other weapons. In a joint operation with U.S. intelligence, the Hezbollah agent was kept under surveillance in hopes that his communications would expose additional Hezbollah operatives. The agent was eventually arrested.[36]

Mossad informed the FBI and CIA in August 2001 that, based on its intelligence, as many as 200 terrorists were slipping into the United States and planning "a major assault on the United States". The Israeli intelligence agency cautioned the FBI that it had picked up indications of a "large-scale target" in the United States and that Americans would be "very vulnerable".[48] However, "It is not known whether U.S. authorities thought the warning to be credible, or whether it contained enough details to allow counter-terrorism teams to come up with a response." A month later, terrorists struck at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the largest terrorist attack in history.[48]

The US journalists Dylan Howard, Melissa Cronin and James Robertson linked the Mossad to American sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in their book Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales. They relied for the most part on the former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe.[49] According to him, Epstein's activities as a spy served to gather compromising material on powerful people in order to blackmail them.[50] There is also a possible connection to the Mossad via Ghislaine Maxwell, whose father Robert Maxwell is said to have had contacts with the Mossad.[51] Epstein's victim Virginia Giuffre also alleged Epstein to be an intelligence asset, linking on Twitter to a Reddit page, that alleged Epstein being a spy, running a blackmail operation.[52]

Uruguay

In 1965, the Mossad assassinated Latvian Nazi collaborator Herberts Cukurs.[53]

Asia

Central Asia and the Middle East

A report published on the Israeli military's official website in February 2014 said that Middle Eastern countries that cooperate with Israel (Mossad) are the United Arab EmiratesAfghanistan, the Republic of AzerbaijanBahrain and Saudi Arabia. The report claimed that Bahrain has been providing Israel with intelligence on Iranian and Palestinian organizations. The report also highlights the growing secret cooperation with Saudi Arabia, claiming that Mossad has been in direct contact with Saudi intelligence about Iran’s nuclear energy program.[54][55]

Iran

Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, SAVAK (Organization of National Security and Information), the Iranian secret police and intelligence service was created under the guidance of United States and Israeli intelligence officers in 1957.[56][57] After security relations between the United States and Iran grew more distant in the early 1960s which led the CIA training team to leave Iran, Mossad became increasingly active in Iran, "training SAVAK personnel and carrying out a broad variety of joint operations with SAVAK."[58]

A US intelligence official told The Washington Post that Israel orchestrated the defection of Iranian general Ali Reza Askari on February 7, 2007.[59] This has been denied by Israeli spokesman Mark RegevThe Sunday Times reported that Askari had been a Mossad asset since 2003, and left only when his cover was about to be blown.[60]

Le Figaro claimed that Mossad was possibly behind a blast at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Imam Ali military base, on October 12, 2011. The explosion at the base killed 18 and injured 10 others. Among the dead was also general Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who served as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile program and was a crucial figure in building Iran's long-range missile program.[61] The base is believed to store long-range missiles, including the Shahab-3, and also has hangars. It is one of Iran's most secure military bases.[62]

Mossad has been accused of assassinating Masoud AlimohammadiArdeshir HosseinpourMajid ShahriariDarioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan; scientists involved in the Iranian nuclear program. It is also suspected of being behind the attempted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi.[63] Meir Dagan, who served as Director of Mossad from 2002 until 2009, while not taking credit for the assassinations, praised them in an interview with a journalist, saying "the removal of important brains" from the Iranian nuclear project had achieved so-called "white defections", frightening other Iranian nuclear scientists into requesting that they be transferred to civilian projects.[33]

In 2018 the Mossad infiltrated into Iran's secret nuclear archive in Tehran and smuggled over 100,000 documents and computer files to Israel. The documents and files showed that the Iranian AMAD Project aimed to develop nuclear weapons.[64] Israel shared the information with its allies, including European countries and the United States.[65]

Iraq

Assistance in the defection and rescuing of the family of Munir Redfa, an Iraqi pilot who defected and flew his MiG-21 to Israel in 1966: "Operation Diamond". Redfa's entire family was also successfully smuggled from Iraq to Israel. Previously unknown information about the MiG-21 was subsequently shared with the United States.

Operation Sphinx[66] – Between 1978 and 1981, obtained highly sensitive information about Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor by recruiting an Iraqi nuclear scientist in France.

Operation Bramble Bush II – In the 1990s, Mossad began scouting locations in Iraq where Saddam Hussein could be ambushed by Sayeret Matkal commandos inserted into Iraq from Jordan. The mission was called off due to Operation Desert Fox and the ongoing Israeli-Arab peace process.[citation needed]

Jordan

In what is thought to have been a reprisal action for a Hamas suicide-bombing in Jerusalem on July 30, 1997 that killed 16 Israelis, Benjamin Netanyahu authorised an operation against Khaled Mashal, the Hamas representative in Jordan.[67] On September 25, 1997, Mashal was injected in the ear with a toxin (thought to have been a derivative of the synthetic opiate Fentanyl called Levofentanyl).[68][69] Jordanian authorities apprehended two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists and trapped a further six in the Israeli embassy. In exchange for their release, an Israeli physician had to fly to Amman and deliver an antidote for Mashal. The fallout from the failed killing eventually led to the release of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement, and scores of Hamas prisoners. Netanyahu flew into Amman on September 29 to apologize personally to King Hussein, but he was instead met by the King's brother, Crown Prince Hassan.[68]

Lebanon

The sending of letter bombs to PFLP member Bassam Abu Sharif in 1972. Sharif was severely wounded, but survived.[70]

The killing of the Palestinian writer and leading PFLP member Ghassan Kanafani by a car bomb in 1972.[71]

The provision of intelligence and operational assistance in the 1973 Operation Spring of Youth special forces raid on Beirut.

The targeted killing of Ali Hassan Salameh, the leader of Black September, on January 22, 1979 in Beirut by a car bomb.[72][73]

Providing intelligence for the killing of Abbas al-Musawi, secretary general of Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon in 1992.[74]

Allegedly killed Jihad Ahmed Jibril, the leader of the military wing of the PFLP-GC, in Beirut in 2002.[75]

Allegedly killed Ali Hussein Saleh, member of Hezbollah, in Beirut in 2003.[76]

Allegedly killed Ghaleb Awwali, a senior Hezbollah official, in Beirut in 2004.[77]

Allegedly killed Mahmoud al-Majzoub, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Sidon in 2006.[78]

Mossad was suspected of establishing a large spy network in Lebanon, recruited from DruzeChristian, and Sunni Muslim communities, and officials in the Lebanese government, to spy on Hezbollah and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard advisors. Some have allegedly been active since the 1982 Lebanon War. In 2009, Lebanese Security Services supported by Hezbollah's intelligence unit, and working in collaboration with SyriaIran, and possibly Russia, launched a major crackdown which resulted in the arrests of around 100 alleged spies "working for Israel".[79] Previously, in 2006, the Lebanese army uncovered a network that allegedly assassinated several Lebanese and Palestinian leaders on behalf of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.[80]

Palestine

Caesarea tried for many years to assassinate Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, a job later tasked by Israel's Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon to a military special ops task force code named "Salt Fish", later renamed "Operation Goldfish", specially created for the job of assassinating Arafat,[81] with Ronan Bergman suggesting that Israel used radiation poisoning to kill Yasser Arafat.[82]

Syria

Eli Cohen infiltrated the highest echelons of the Syrian government, was a close friend of the Syrian President, and was considered for the post of Minister of Defense. He gave his handlers a complete plan of the Syrian defenses on the Golan Heights, the Syrian Armed Forces order of battle, and a complete list of the Syrian military's weapons inventory. He also ordered the planting of trees by every Syrian fortified position under the pretext of shading soldiers, but the trees actually served as targeting markers for the Israel Defense Forces. He was discovered by Syrian and Soviet intelligence, tried in secret, and executed publicly in 1965.[83] His information played a crucial role during the Six-Day War.

On April 1, 1978, 12 Syrian military and secret service personnel were killed by a booby trapped sophisticated Israeli listening device planted on the main telephone cable between Damascus and Jordan.[84]

The alleged death of General Anatoly Kuntsevich, who from the late 1990s was suspected of aiding the Syrians in the manufacture of VX nerve-gas, in exchange for which he was paid huge amounts of money by the Syrian government. On April 3, 2002, Kuntsevich died mysteriously during a plane journey, amid allegations that Mossad was responsible.[84]

The alleged killing of Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil, a senior member of the military wing of Hamas, in an automobile booby trap in September 2004 in Damascus.[85]

The uncovering of a nuclear reactor being built in Syria as a result of surveillance by Mossad of Syrian officials working under the command of Muhammad Suleiman. As a result, the Syrian nuclear reactor was destroyed by Israeli Air Forces in September 2007 (see Operation Orchard).[84]

The alleged killing of Muhammad Suleiman, head of Syria's nuclear program, in 2008. Suleiman was on a beach in Tartus and was killed by a sniper firing from a boat.[86]

On July 25, 2007, the al-Safir chemical weapons depot exploded, killing 15 Syrian personnel as well as 10 Iranian engineers. Syrian investigations blamed Israeli sabotage.[84]

The alleged killing of Imad Mughniyah, a senior leader of Hezbollah complicit in the 1983 United States embassy bombing, with an exploding headrest in Damascus in 2008.[87]

The decomposed body of Yuri Ivanov, the deputy head of the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence service, was found on a Turkish beach in early August 2010,[88] amid allegations that Mossad may have played a role. He had disappeared while staying near Latakia, Syria.[89]

Mossad was accused of being behind the assassination of Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist responsible for developing long-range rockets and chemical weapons programs. He was killed in a car bomb in Masyaf on August 5, 2018.[90]

United Arab Emirates

Mossad is suspected of killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, in January 2010 at DubaiUnited Arab Emirates. The team which carried out the killing is estimated, on the basis of CCTV and other evidence, to have consisted of at least 26 agents traveling on bogus passports. The operatives entered al-Mabhouh's hotel room, where Mabhouh was subjected to electric shocks and interrogated. The door to his room was reported to have been locked from the inside.[91][92][93][94][95] Although the UAE police and Hamas have declared Israel responsible for the killing, no direct evidence linking Mossad to the crime has been found. The agents' bogus passports included six British passports, cloned from those of real British nationals resident in Israel and suspected by Dubai, five Irish passports, apparently forged from those of living individuals,[96] forged Australian passports that raised fears of reprisal against innocent victims of identity theft,[97] a genuine German passport and a false French passport. Emirati police say they have fingerprint and DNA evidence of some of the attackers, as well as retinal scans of 11 suspects recorded at Dubai airport.[98][99] Dubai's police chief has said "I am now completely sure that it was Mossad," adding: "I have presented the (Dubai) prosecutor with a request for the arrest of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the head of Mossad," for the murder.[100]

South Asia and East/Southeast Asia

India

Rediff story in 2003 revealed that Mossad had clandestine links with the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. When R&AW was founded in September 1968 by Rameshwar Nath Kao, he was advised by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to cultivate links with Mossad. This was suggested as a countermeasure to military links between that of Pakistan and China, as well as with North Korea. Israel was also concerned that Pakistani army officers were training Libyans and Iranians in handling Chinese and North Korean military equipment.[101]

Pakistan believed intelligence relations between India and Israel threatened Pakistani security. When young Israeli tourists began visiting the Kashmir valley in the early 1990s, Pakistan suspected they were disguised Israeli army officers there to help Indian security forces with anti-terrorism operations. Israeli tourists were attacked, with one slain and another kidnapped. Pressure from the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora in the United States led to his release. Kashmiri Muslims feared that the attacks could isolate the American Jewish community, and result in them lobbying the US government against Kashmiri separatist groups.[101]

India Today reported that the two flats were RAW safe houses used as operational fronts for Mossad agents and housed Mossad's station chief between 1989 and 1992. RAW had reportedly decided to have closer ties to Mossad, and the subsequent secret operation was approved by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. India Today cites "RAW insiders" as saying that RAW agents hid a Mossad agent holding an Argentine passport and exchanged intelligence and expertise in operations, including negotiations for the release of an Israeli tourist by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militants in June 1991. When asked about the case Verma refused to speak about the companies, but claimed his relationship with them was purely professional. Raman stated, "Sometimes, spy agencies float companies for operational reasons. All I can say is that everything was done with government approval. Files were cleared by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his cabinet secretary. Balachandran stated, "It is true that we did a large number of operations but at every stage, we kept the Cabinet Secretariat and the prime minister in the loop."[102]

In November 2015, The Times of India reported that agents from Mossad and MI5 were protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Turkey. Modi was on a state visit to the United Kingdom and was scheduled to attend the 2015 G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The paper reported that the agents had been called in to provide additional cover to Modi's security detail, composed of India's Special Protection Group and secret agents from RAW and IB, in wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.[103][104]

Malaysia

In 2018, Hamas and the family of Malaysian-based Hamas engineer and university lecturer Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh have accused the Mossad of assassinating him. In April 2018, al-Batsh was shot dead by two men on a motorbike in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described the suspects as Europeans with links to an unidentified foreign intelligence agency. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied that Mossad was involved in al-Batsh's assassination and suggested that his death was the result of an internal Palestinian dispute.[105][106] Hamas also issued a statement describing Batsh as a "martyr" and "distinguished scientist who has widely contributed to the energy sector."[107]

In October 2022, the New Straits Times and Al Jazeera Arabic reported that several Malaysian Mossad operatives had attempted to kidnap two Palestinian computer experts in Kuala Lumpur in late September 2022. Though they managed to kidnap one of the men, the second escaped and alerted Malaysian police. The operatives allegedly assisted Mossad officials via video call in interrogating and beating their captive, who was questioned about the computer programming and software capabilities of Hamas and its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. With the aid of the second Palestinian man, Malaysian police were able to track down the car registration plates to a house where the alleged kidnappers were arrested and the man was freed. According to Al Jazeera Arabic, a "well-informed Malaysian source" claimed that an investigation had uncovered an undercover 11-member Mossad cell in Malaysia that was involved in spying on important sites including airports, government electronic companies, and tracking down Palestinian activists. This Mossad cell allegedly consisted of Malaysian nationals who received training in Europe.[108][109][110]

North Korea

Mossad may have been involved in the 2004 explosion of Ryongchon, where several Syrian nuclear scientists working on the Syrian and Iranian nuclear-weapons programs were killed and a train carrying fissionable material was destroyed.[111]

Pakistan

In a September 2003 news article,[112] it was alleged by Rediff News that General Pervez Musharraf, the then-president of Pakistan, decided to establish a clandestine relationship between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Mossad via officers of the two services posted at their embassies in Washington, DC.

Sri Lanka

Mossad had helped both Sri Lanka and the Eelam. Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky claimed that Mossad trained both the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE while keeping the two separated. Ravi Jayawardene, head of the STF, had toured Israel in 1984 and took inspiration from the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories to form armed Sinhalese settlements in strategic border areas of the Tamil-dominant Northern and Eastern provinces.[113]

Europe