Israel planning global assassination campaign – WSJ

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Israeli spies are preparing to assassinate Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Türkiye, and Qatar once the war with the militant group is over in Gaza, officials have told the Wall Street Journal. The operation was reportedly planned more than a month ago, but postponed so that hostage negotiations could take place.

The Israeli intelligence services began drawing up plans for the assassination campaign after Hamas’ October 7 attack on the Jewish state, the American newspaper reported on Thursday, citing anonymous officials. Some reportedly wanted to embark on the campaign immediately, but were ordered to wait so that negotiations to free the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas could progress.

The killings have been authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the officials said, adding that it is now a matter of when, not if, the campaign will begin.

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While such operations are usually planned in secret, the Israeli government has explicitly warned that it intends to kill Hamas operatives outside Gaza. Before the officials leaked the story to the Wall Street Journal, Netanyahu declared last month that he had “instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are.”

Answering directly to the prime minister’s office, Mossad is Israel’s foreign intelligence and covert operations agency, roughly analogous to the American CIA. The agency has a long history of assassinations on foreign soil, some of which have escalated into major diplomatic incidents.

Famed for capturing Adolf Eichmann – a Nazi officer and leading organizer of the Holocaust – in 1960, Mossad failed to kill many of the Nazis it hunted in the decades immediately after World War II, despite having an extensive hit list to work through. The agency launched a letter-bombing campaign against former Nazi scientists working for Egypt’s rocket program in the early 1960s, but the operation was called off by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in 1963 after multiple targets escaped and at least five Egyptian workers were killed.

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Israel’s darkest hour could last years

In a multi-decade clandestine operation launched after Palestinian militants killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, Mossad agents killed 18 people suspected of involvement in the massacre. One of those killed was a Moroccan waiter in Norway, an incident that led to the arrest and sentencing of five Israeli agents by the Norwegian authorities.

More recently, Netanyahu ordered Mossad to assassinate Hamas co-founder Khaled Mashal in Jordan in 1997. The two-man assassination team was captured after one sprayed a toxin into Mashal’s ear, and Jordan threatened to shred its peace treaty with Israel in response. The diplomatic standoff was defused when Israeli agents delivered an antidote to the toxin and Netanyahu agreed to release dozens of Palestinian prisoners, including Hamas imam and co-founder Ahmed Yassin.

Mossad agents were also caught using forged Irish, British, and Australian passports for an assassination operation in Dubai in 2010.


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