Operation Killer - History

Operation Killer - History

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1 Marines Fighting

After the landing in Inchon, the 8th Army launched Operation Killer. This was designed to attack the Communist troops in the eastern part of the country. It succeeded, but the Communists were already withdrawing northward. Thus it failed to capture large number of Communist troops that was part of the plan.

Operation Rat Killer

Operation Rat Killer was a Korean War operation carried out by Republic of Korea forces and United States advisers from December 1951 into February 1952. It was aimed at eradicating communist guerrilla forces operating in zones occupied by the United Nations forces. The operation involved two Korean Army divisions, the Capital Division and the 8th Division, several regiments of the Korean National Police, a ROKAF squadron of Mustang fighter-bombers, and about sixty United States experts. The operation was under the command of General Paik Sun Yup. The operation's particular priority was the mountainous area of Jirisan.

Before the operation, the guerrillas were allegedly responsible for harassing nearly a third of UN forces and conducting regular attacks on roads and railways used by them. After the operation, the guerrilla forces were greatly weakened, although a resurgence remained a threat until the end of the war. Ώ]

Gun jammed

The story of Operation Anthropoid, devised by Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE), has been told in countless articles, books and films.

On 27 May 1942, as Heydrich's open-top Mercedes limousine slowed to round a hairpin bend in Prague, Gabcik - armed with a Sten sub-machine gun - leapt in front of the car and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed.

Heydrich ordered his driver to halt and drew his pistol. Kubis threw a bomb, which exploded near the car, and fled. Heydrich, wounded and in shock, pursued his attackers for several metres before returning to the car and collapsing.

It initially seemed the attempt to kill Heydrich had failed. But he died in Prague's Bulovka hospital eight days later, reportedly from septicaemia from the shrapnel, or possibly fragments of upholstery.

"I'm incredibly proud of what my friend did," Mr Denemarek told the BBC.

"If it wasn't for Jan, I wouldn't be here today. Half the Czech nation wouldn't be here today. Heydrich had terrible plans for us Czechs," he went on.

In January of that year, Heydrich had chaired the infamous Wannsee Conference, which set out plans for the enslavement and murder of 8 million European Jews. The Slavs, according to Heydrich's plans, would be next.

In 1950, the U.S. Released a Bioweapon in San Francisco

The bacterium Serratia marcescens lives in soil and water, and is best known for its ability to produce bright red pigment. This flashy trait makes this particular microbe useful in experiments—because it is so bright, it's easy to see where it is. And in 1950, the U.S. military harnessed that power in a large-scale biowarefare test, writes Rebecca Kreston on her blog “Body Horrors” for Scientific American.

Beginning on September 26, 1950, the crew of a U.S. Navy minesweeper ship spent six days spraying Serratia marcescens into the air about two miles off the northern California coast. The project was called “Operation Sea Spray,” and its aim was to determine the susceptibility of a big city like San Francisco to a bioweapon attack by terrorists. 

In the following days, the military took samples at 43 sites to track the bacteria's spread, and found that it had quickly infested not only the city but surrounding suburbs as well. During the test, residents of these areas would have inhaled millions of bacterial spores. Clearly, their test showed, San Francisco and cities with similar size and topography could face germ warfare threats. “In this regard, the experiment was a success,” writes Kreston.

But there was a catch. At the time, the US military thought that Serratia couldn’t harm humans. The bug was mostly known for the red spots it produced on infested foods and had not been widely linked to clinical conditions. That changed when one week after the test, 11 local residents checked into a Stanford University Hospital complaining of urinary tract infections.

Upon testing their pee, doctors noticed that the pathogen had a red hue. “Infection with Serratia was so rare that the outbreak was extensively investigated by the University to identify the origins of this scarlet letter bug,” writes Kreston. After scientists identified the microbe, the cases collectively became the first recorded outbreak of Serratia marcescens. One patient, a man named Edward Nevin who was recovering from prostate surgery, died, and some have suggested that the release forever changed the area's microbial ecology, as Bernadette Tansey pointed out for the San Francisco Chronicle in 2004.

The military had performed similar tests in other cities across the country over the next two decades, until Richard Nixon halted all germ warfare research in 1969. The San Francisco experiment didn’t become public knowledge until 1976.

About Helen Thompson

Helen Thompson writes about science and culture for Smithsonian. She's previously written for NPR, National Geographic News, Nature and others.

The Phoenix coordinator in Quang Ngai Province at the time of the My Lai massacre was Robert B. Ramsdell, a seventeen-year veteran of the Army CID who subsequently worked for ten years as a private investigator in Florida. Ramsdell was hired by the CIA in 1967. He was trained in the United States and sent to Vietnam on February 4, 1968, as the Special Branch adviser in Quang Ngai Province. Ramsdell, who appeared incognito before the Peers panel, told newsmen that he worked for the Agency for International Development.

In "Cover-up" Seymour Hersh tells how in February 1968 Ramsdell began “rounding up residents of Quang Ngai City whose names appeared on Phoenix blacklists.” Explained Ramsdell: “After Tet we knew who many of these people were, but we let them continue to function because we were controlling them. They led us to the VC security officer for the district. We wiped them out after Tet and then went ahead and picked up the small fish.” The people who were “wiped out,” Hersh explains, were “put to death” by the Phoenix Special Police.”


Even less well remembered is one mission in the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam in July of 1968. A team of CIA psychologists set up shop at Bien Hoa Prison outside Saigon, where NLF suspects were being held after Phoenix Program round-ups. The psychologists performed a variety of experiments on the prisoners. In one, three prisoners were anaesthetized their skulls were opened and electrodes implanted by CIA doctors into different parts of their brains. The prisoners were revived, placed in a room with knives and the electrodes in the brains activated by the psychiatrists, who were covertly observing them. The hope was that they could be prompted in this manner to attack each other. The experiments failed. The electrodes were removed, the patients were shot and their bodies burned.

The Phoenix Program was a CIA creation in Vietnam. It was not unlike the Einsatzgruppen. It consisted basically of killer squads. Eliminating selectively Vietcong leaders.

Operation Phoenix was designed with the stated objective to neutralize the NLF (National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, popularly known as the Vietcong), and it utilized infiltration, capturing, terrorizing, assassinating, converting, or killing to meet its objectives. More than 80,000 suspects were neutralized by the Phoenix operatives, killing more than 25,000 Vietnamese, and leaving the others disabled due to extreme torture. According to an internal communication, the intent of Operation Phoenix was to attack the NLF with a rifle rather than a shotgun to target the Vietnamese political leaders, command and control elements of the NLF activists.

According to MACV Directive 381-41, the intent of Phoenix was to attack the NLF with a "rifle shot rather than a shotgun approach to target key political leaders, command/control elements and activists in the VCI."

Under the Phoenix Program, the CIA created and directed a secret police ostensibly run by the South Vietnamese. Its objective was to destroy the Viet Cong’s infrastructure. During the course of the program’s existence, the secret police units, operating as virtual death squads, were implicated in burnings, garroting, rape, torture, and sabotage. As many as 50,000 Vietnamese were killed. [ PILGER, 1986, PP. 274 VALENTINE, 2000] The most decorated American soldier of the war, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert, later recaledl in his book, Soldier, “They wanted me to take charge of execution teams that wiped out entire families and tried to make it look as though the VC themselves had done the killing.” [PILGER, 1986, PP. 274]

The Phoenix, legendary animal that comes to symbolize what rises from the ashes.

Covert paramilitary operations by the CIA in Vietnam began early in the sixties, but it was not until 1965, that the U.S. began developing terrestrial deployment, when the station was established at the headquarters of the American Embassy in Saigon. It was called OSA ("Office of Special Assistace"). Throughout the 44 provinces of South Vietnam, nearly thousand OSA agents would conduct various intelligence collection programs, political and covert operations.

Although some sources cite 1967 as the year when the Phoenix program was launched, it was not until January 1968, William Colby was sent to Vietnam by President Johnson and the CIA director Richard Helms with direct order from his office (in theory Colby came as ambassador) CORDS program ("Civil Operations and Rural Development Support"), the predecessor of Phoenix, and created by MACV ("Military Assistance Command Vietnam") in July 1967.

William Colby in Vietnam

Nelson H. Brickham, Chief of Field Operations Section intelligence liaison, and authentic creator of Phoenix, was the man who launched the following projects within CORDS:

- HIP ("Hamlet Informant Project"): The CIA and Special Branch (Vietnamese officials not operating as intelligence agents but as detectives) were engaged in recruiting informants throughout South Vietnam. The CIA informants paid only if the accused confessed that he was part of the Vietcong infrastructure (IVC).

- PIC ("Province Interrogation Center") : The CIA abducted political leaders, students, trade unionists and journalists close to the communist ideologies and recruit PIC centers that were built torture chambers in all provinces of South Vietnam by the architectural firm specializing in the construction of bunkers and prisons "Pacific Architects & Enginners".

A PIC: The place where Vietcong were tortured

- PVI ("Vietcong Infrastructure Penetrations"): The IVC was attacked putting pressure on family members or on their people. Once arrested a member of VC, was tortured until he gave the name of his people and their families. Once done, the members of the Special Division conducted a raid, the captured (most were usually women) and were raped in front of the detainee This program was directed personally by Brickham.

"The bad guy". Nelson Brickham

Meanwhile, the head of the CIA station in Saigon, John Limond Hart, had its own covert action program, which was coordinated by his deputy, Tom Donahue. This program clashed often with that of Brickham, despite having much larger budget was less effective, partly because Hart used paramilitary Cubans from the Bay of Pigs, rather than South Vietnamese staff.

A captured Vietcong squeaks on his comrades

To end this competition, Colby decided on arrival to unify all covert CIA operations programs in South Vietnam under the name of PHOENIX. It was necessary to unite the efforts of the CIA, the FAS of the U.S., South Vietnamese Special Branch, and the Central Intelligence Organization of Vietnam.

The Phoenix program in its infancy was called ICEX ("Intelligence Coordination and Explotation") , and although it was under command of the army, it had its own chain of command, directed by William Colby himself.

The first step by the CIA was the creation of the PRU ("Provincial Reconnaissance Units") paramilitary units comprising of volunteers South Vietnamese soldiers and Americans SEALS , whose mission was to attack the enemy in their territory, in rural areas.

Delta PRU adviser John Wilbur with the Kien Hoa Province PRU team in 1967

There were also special units operating independently called CT ("Counter-Terror Teams") consisting of a sniper, an observer and a transmission specialist. These teams closely guarded suspects filtered by the HIP, and if they met with members of the VC, they were eliminated. It is estimated that these units "removed" upto 3,000 civilians. Given its effectiveness, CT Colby received authorization to go into North Vietnamese territory to target high ranking Communist military or administration officials.

Member of a special Phoenix team, displaying Phoenix tattoo

One of the biggest successes of Phoenix was a program called "Chieu Hoi" or "open arms Programme" , which was to provide money to middle and high ranking communists to become South Vietnamese allies. It is believed that some 159,000 members of the Communist organization joined the program, 15,000 of them were members of the NVA ("North Vietnamese Army")

Intelligence was gathered and transmitted by PIOCC ("Province Intelligence and Operations Coordination Centers") or its subordinate DIOCC ("District Intelligence and Operations Coordination Centers")

With the goal of transferring control to the South Vietnamese PHOENIX because of the growing "Vietnamization" of the conflict, members of the CIA were gradually replaced by elements of the U.S. military, mostly from the Special Forces. The handover took place in August 1971, taking the reins of the regular army, special forces and the South Vietnamese police. The program then became known by its Vietnamese name, "Hoang Pjung".

The Phoenix program was widely criticized by groups opposed to the war, considering it was a program of murders with indiscriminate brutality and constant violation of international law.

It is believed that the program was active until December 1972, although in some respects it was alive until the day of the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.

Multiple Life Sentences

Facing the prospect of execution, Ridgway made a deal with investigators to revealed where he&aposd hidden the bodies of several of the young women who&aposd never been found while also agreeing to plead guilty to any future cases where his confession could be substantiated by evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison in December 2003, having committed more murders than any serial killer in U.S. history. 

An additional body was found in 2011, with Ridgway receiving another life sentence. In 2013, he claimed in an interview with a news media outlet that he had murdered 75-80 women, with speculation over Ridgway was telling the truth or seeking further attention.

The Zodiac Killer: A Timeline

In July of 1969, a letter arrived at The San Francisco Examiner newspaper containing those chilling words in a coded message. The sender: the soon-to-be-notorious Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a combination of grisly murders and bizarre public letters brimming with horrific threats, demented demands and mysterious ciphers teasing his identity.

That identity has stymied law-enforcement officials, professional code breakers and armchair criminologists alike for nearly five decades. While officially connected to five murders and two attempted murders, the Zodiac hinted he had killed at least 37 victims. After taunting the police and the public with nearly two dozen communiqués, he seemed to vanish in the late 1970s. But his twisted legacy endures, having inspired three real-life copycat killers and dozens of books, TV shows and movies—including, most famously, Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the film 𠇍irty Harry.” Below, a chronology of both his known murders and several that show strong signs of the Zodiac hand:


Robert Domingos and his fiancé Linda Edwards were seniors at Lompoc High School in Santa Barbara County in Southern California. On Tuesday in early June, 1963, the couple decided to use the “Senior Ditch Day” to go sunbathing on a beach near Gaviota State Park. When the two teenagers didn’t return home by Wednesday, Robert’s father went to the beach and was horrified to discover their bodies lying together inside the remains of a crumbling shack. The victims, bound with rope, had apparently tried to escape, but were shot and killed with a .22- caliber weapon. Robert was shot 11 times and Linda had been shot nine times. The killer then dragged the bodies to the shack where he tried and failed to start a fire. Investigators had few leads but, in 1972, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s department announced a possible Zodiac connection. The beach killer used Winchester Western Super X ammunition, the same ammunition used by the Zodiac during the 1968 murders on Lake Herman Road. The Domingos/Edwards case also had similarities to the Zodiac’s attack of another young couple at Lake Berryessa in 1969.

RIVERSIDE (possible Zodiac)

Eighteen-year-old Cheri Josephine Bates lived with her father Joseph and was a student at Riverside City College in Riverside, California. On October 30, 1966, she left a note that read, �— – went to the RCC library.” The next morning, her Volkswagen Beetle was found abandoned in the library parking lot, and her body was lying nearby between two houses. She had been stabbed several times and her throat was slashed. Police found a men’s Timex watch at the crime scene, a print from a military boot and some hairs in dried blood on the victim’s hand. Cheri Jo’s purse was intact, and an autopsy revealed no evidence of sexual assault. One month after the murder, the local newspaper and the police department received typewritten letters titled “The Confession” from someone who claimed to be the killer. The author wrote, “Miss Bates was stupid. She went to the slaughter like a lamb,” and added, “I am not sick. I am insane.” In April 1967, the newspaper, the police and Joseph Bates received virtually identical handwritten letters which read, �tes had to die. There will be more.” The notes were signed with a symbol which resembled the letter “Z.”

In 1969, Riverside police contacted investigators in Northern California regarding the similarities between the Zodiac crimes and the murder of Cheri Jo Bates. Sherwood Morrill, then documents examiner for the California Department of Justice, concluded that the Zodiac was responsible for the notes linked to the Bates case. The “Riverside connection” was later revealed to the public by Paul Avery, reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. Zodiac then sent a letter to The Los Angeles Times indicating that the killer confirmed the theory that he had killed Bates. The Zodiac wrote, “I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there.” Years later, Riverside police rejected the Zodiac theory and focused on a man who they said was a jilted former lover of Bates. In the late 1990s, police obtained a sample of the suspect’s DNA to compare with the DNA taken from the hairs found in the victim’s hand in 1966. The DNA didn’t match, and the suspect denied any involvement in the murder.

Five nights before Christmas, high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday set out on their first official date together, promising Betty Lou’s parents they𠆝 be home by 11:00 PM. Shortly after that time, passing motorists saw the Rambler and its occupants parked at a lovers’ lane spot along Lake Herman Road in Benicia, California. Moments later, another driver noticed two seemingly lifeless bodies on the side of the road. Benicia police and others responded to the scene and discovered Betty Lou dead, with five bullet wounds in her back. David was found next to the Rambler with a bullet wound in his head, still breathing but near death. Bullet holes in the car’s roof and back window indicated that the killer may have fired warning shots to force the victims out of the vehicle. Shell casings recovered at the crime scene identified ammunition as Winchester Western Super X copper-coated. Ballistic evidence indicated that the killer used a .22-caliber, possibly a J. C. Higgins Model 80 semiautomatic pistol. Investigators believed the two teenagers were likely random targets killed by a stranger for unknown reasons.

Twenty-two-year-old Darlene Ferrin was a wife, mother and a popular waitress at a Vallejo restaurant. On the night of July 4, she picked up friend Michael Mageau and stopped her Corvair in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park. Michael later told police that another vehicle pulled into the lot around midnight and then left only to return minutes later. The driver got out of the car, shined a bright light and fired into the Corvair with a 9mm handgun. Michael was shot in the jaw, shoulder and leg Darlene was hit several times. At 12:40 PM, in a call later traced to a gas-station pay phone, a man rang the Vallejo police department and claimed responsibility for the shooting as well as the murders on Lake Herman Road. According to the police dispatcher, the caller spoke in a low, monotonous voice, saying: “I want to report a murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway, you will find kids in a brown car. They were shot with a 9-millimeter Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye.” Darlene died on arrival at the hospital, but Michael survived. Investigators were unable to identify any viable suspects.

1 – Letter to the Vallejo Times-Herald, postmarked July 31, 1969. The writer claimed responsibility for the two shootings and provided details about the victims, the weapons, the number of shots fired and the brand of ammunition.

2 – Letter to The San Francisco Chronicle, postmarked July 31, 1969. One of three virtually identical letters accompanied by one-third of a cipher. The writer demanded publication of the letters and ciphers by Friday, August 1st.

3 – Letter to The San Francisco Examiner, postmarked July 31, 1969. The writer threatened to kill again if newspapers did not publish the cipher, which included the words, “I like killing people because it’s so much fun.”

4 – Three-page letter received by the Examiner on August 4, 1969 Sent in response to police asking for information to prove the writer actually committed the murders, this was the first use of the name “the Zodiac.”


On a Saturday in late September, college students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were relaxing along the shore of Lake Berryessa, some 30 miles north of Napa, California. A man appeared holding a gun and wearing a hooded costume with a white crossed-circle stitched over the chest. Explaining that he had escaped from a prison and needed money and a car to escape to Mexico, the stranger bound their wrists with pre-cut lengths of plastic clothesline. Without warning, he plunged a large knife into Bryan’s back six times. He then stabbed Cecelia 10 times as she fought for her life. The man then walked to Bryan’s car, and used a pen to draw a crossed-circle on the door with the dates and locations of the previous attacks, the date “Sept 27 69,” the time 𠇆:30,” and the notation, 𠇋y knife.” At 7:40 PM, a man called the Napa police department to report 𠇊 double murder.” The caller described Bryan’s car, directed police to the scene of the crime, and confessed, “I’m the one who did it.” Police traced the call to a pay phone at a car wash in Napa. Cecelia died two days later, but Bryan survived.

5 – Message written on the passenger door of victim Bryan Hartnell’s Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which included the dates of the two shootings. Sherwood Morrill, the California Department of Justice documents examiner, concluded that the door message was written by the author of the “Zodiac” letters.


Paul Stine, a 28-year-old student and husband, worked as a cab driver in San Francisco. That night, Stine picked up a fare headed for a destination in the upscale Presidio Heights neighborhood. At the intersection of Washington and Cherry Streets, the passenger shot Stine in the head and removed a piece of the victim’s shirt. The man walked away just before police arrived, but the police radio broadcast mistakenly described the suspect as a black man, and passing officers dismissed a white man resembling the correct description. Fingerprints found on the driver’s side of the cab may have belonged to the killer and a sketch was produced based on descriptions provided by witnesses. The case was considered a routine robbery until the office of The San Francisco Chronicle received an envelope with a letter from “The Zodiac” which began with the words, “I am the murderer of the taxi driver.” The envelope also contained a blood-stained piece of Paul Stine’s shirt. The Zodiac denied he left fingerprints and claimed the police sketch was inaccurate because he had worn a disguise.

6 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked October 13, 1969. The writer mocked police for failing to catch him and threatened to shoot children on a school bus. The envelope contained a piece of the blood-stained shirt belonging to victim Paul Stine.

7 – Envelope to the Chronicle, postmarked November 8, 1969, containing another piece of the cab driver’s shirt, a humorous greeting card and another cipher consisting of 340 symbols. The writer added, �s July Aug Sept Oct = 7,” a possible reference to more unidentified victims.

8 – Seven-page letter to the Chronicle, postmarked November 9, 1969. The longest message from Zodiac claimed that police stopped him near a crime scene but let him go. Zodiac also included a bomb recipe and a diagram of the explosive.

9 – Letter addressed to famous attorney Melvin Belli, postmarked December 20, 1969. The writer feared he would kill again and asked Belli to intercede. The letter ended, “Please help me I can not remain in control for much longer.”

MODESTO AREA (possible Zodiac)

On a Sunday in late March, 22-year-old Kathleen Johns packed her infant daughter into a station wagon and left San Bernardino, California to visit her sick mother in Petaluma, in the northern part of the state. Kathleen was also seven months pregnant with the child of her long-time boyfriend. As she travelled on Highway 132 near Modesto, another vehicle pulled alongside the station wagon and the driver appeared to signal that Kathleen should pull over. On the side of the road, the driver explained that the back wheel of Kathleen’s station wagon was loose, but he promised to fix the problem. Instead, he loosened the lug nuts and the wheel fell off as Kathleen tried to drive away. The man then offered to drive Kathleen to a gas station, but she climbed into his car and discovered he appeared to have other plans. She claimed he also made veiled threats to harm her child. Eventually, Kathleen grabbed her daughter and jumped from the car. A passing driver took Kathleen to a nearby police station where she identified the stranger from a police sketch of the Zodiac. Months later, a Zodiac letter mentioned 𠇊 rather interesting ride” with a woman and her baby.

10 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked April 20, 1970. Included: a 13-symbol cipher and a diagram of a bomb designed to kill children on a school bus. The Zodiac denied responsibility for a recent police-station bombing that killed an officer.

11 – Greeting card to the Chronicle, postmarked April 28, 1970. Inside the card, the Zodiac demanded publication of his bomb threats and insisted that the people of the San Francisco Bay Area wear “Zodiac buttons” featuring his chosen symbol, the crossed-circle.

12 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked June 26, 1970, containing a map of the San Francisco Bay Area with a crossed-circle on the peak of Mt. Diablo and a code to locate the Zodiac’s bomb. The writer claimed he killed again.

13 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked July 24, 1970. The Zodiac complained that people weren’t wearing his crossed-circle “Zodiac buttons,” and he claimed that he was responsible for the failed abduction of pregnant mother Kathleen Johns on March 22, 1970.

14 – Five-page letter to the Chronicle, postmarked July 26, 1970. The Zodiac described torturing his victims and quoted from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical “The Mikado.” The letter also explained that the “Mt. Diablo code” concerned geometric angles known as “radians.”

LAKE TAHOE (possible Zodiac)

A postcard attributed to the Zodiac featured an advertisement for a condominium project in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with the phrases “pass Lake Tahoe areas” and “Sought Victim 12.” Some interpreted the cryptic message as a clue to the disappearance of 25-year-old Donna Lass. In May 1970, Donna worked in San Francisco at Letterman General Hospital, located on the Presidio military base near the area where the Zodiac killed a cabdriver. Donna moved northeast to South Lake Tahoe and found work as a nurse for the Sahara Hotel and Casino. On September 6, 1970, Donna vanished sometime after the last entry in her work logbook at 1:50 AM. Her car was later found abandoned near her apartment. According to some accounts, an unidentified man called Donna’s employer and her landlord, claiming she had to leave town due to a family emergency. Donna’s family told authorities there was no such emergency, and the man was never identified. Investigators suspected Donna had been abducted and killed, but her body was never found. Her disappearance remained a mystery and her name was added to long list of possible Zodiac victims.

Aftermath [ edit ]

Over the fourteen days the two Corps took to reach and consolidate positions along the Arizona Line, each reported having inflicted substantial casualties. IX Corps alone reported 7,819 enemy killed, 1,469 wounded, and 208 captured. But from the outset it had become steadily clearer that the primary objective of Operation Killer of destroying all PVA/KPA forces below the Arizona Line would be only partially achieved. The PVA/KPA forces' head start in withdrawing, their disinclination to take a defensive stand below the objective line other than in spotty delaying actions and difficulties in negotiating the ground had prevented any other result. Α] : 310


Two days after the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics, Israel retaliated by bombing ten PLO bases in Syria and Lebanon. Prime Minister Golda Meir created Committee X, a small group of government officials tasked with formulating an Israeli response, with herself and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan at the head. She also appointed General Aharon Yariv as her Advisor on Counterterrorism he, along with Mossad Director Zvi Zamir, took the principal role in directing the ensuing operation. The committee came to the conclusion that, to deter future violent incidents against Israel, they needed to assassinate those who had supported or carried out the Munich massacre, and in dramatic fashion.

Pressured by Israeli public opinion and top intelligence officials, Meir reluctantly authorized the beginning of the broad assassination campaign. [3] Yet when the three surviving perpetrators of the massacre were released just months later by West Germany in compliance with the demands of the hijackers of Lufthansa Flight 615, any remaining ambivalence she felt was removed. [4] The committee's first task for Israeli intelligence was to draw up an assassination list of all those involved in Munich. This was accomplished with the aid of PLO operatives working for Mossad, and with information provided by friendly European intelligence agencies. [5] While the contents of the entire list are unknown, reports put the final number of targets at 20–35, a mix of Black September and PLO elements. [nb 1] Once this was complete, Mossad was charged with locating the individuals and killing them.

Critical in the planning was the idea of plausible deniability, that it should be impossible to prove a direct connection between the assassinations and Israel. [6] In addition, the operations were more generally intended to terrorize Palestinian militants. According to David Kimche, former deputy head of Mossad, "The aim was not so much revenge but mainly to make them [the Palestinian terrorists] frightened. We wanted to make them look over their shoulders and feel that we are upon them. And therefore we tried not to do things by just shooting a guy in the street – that's easy . fairly." [7]

It is also known that Mossad agent Michael Harari led the creation and direction of the teams, [8] although some may not have always been under government responsibility. Author Simon Reeve explains that the Mossad team – whose squad names are letters of the Hebrew alphabet – consisted of:

. fifteen people divided into five squads: "Aleph", two trained killers "Bet", two guards who would shadow the Alephs "Het", two agents who would establish cover for the rest of the team by renting hotel rooms, apartments, cars, and so on "Ayin", comprising between six and eight agents who formed the backbone of the operation, shadowing targets and establishing an escape route for the Aleph and Bet squads and "Qoph", two agents specializing in communications. [9]

This is similar to former Mossad katsa Victor Ostrovsky's description of Mossad's own assassination teams, the Kidon. In fact, Ostrovsky says in his book that it was Kidon units that performed the assassinations. [10] This is supported by author Gordon Thomas who was given access to the debriefing reports submitted by the eight Kidon and 80 member backup team that were involved in the assassinations. [11]

Another report by author Aaron J. Klein says that these teams were actually part of a unit called Caesarea, which would be renamed and reorganized into Kidon in the mid-1970s. [12] Harari eventually commanded three Caesarea teams of around 12 members each. They were each further divided into logistics, surveillance, and assassination squads. [13]

One of the covert teams was revealed in the aftermath of the Lillehammer affair (see Ali Hassan Salameh section below), when six members of the Mossad assassination team were arrested by Norwegian authorities. Harari escaped to Israel, and it is possible that others were able to evade capture with him. An article in Time magazine immediately after the killing put the total number of Mossad personnel at 15, [14] which would also be similar to the above descriptions.

A markedly different account comes from the book Vengeance, where the author states that Mossad set up a five-man unit of trained intelligence personnel in Europe – a unit which was led by the person who was also the author's source, for the information. The book also says that the team operated outside of direct government control, and that its only communications were with Harari. [6]

Several hours before each assassination, each target's family received flowers with a condolence card reading: "A reminder we do not forget or forgive." [11]


The first assassination occurred on October 16, 1972, when Palestinian Wael Zwaiter was killed in Rome. Mossad agents had been waiting for him to return from dinner, and shot him twelve times. [15] After the shooting, the agents were spirited away to a safe house. At the time, Zwaiter was the PLO representative in Italy, and while Israel privately claimed he was a member of Black September and was involved in a failed plot against an El Al airliner, members of the PLO argued that he was in no way connected. Abu Iyad, deputy-chief of the PLO, stated that Zwaiter was "energetically" against terrorism. [16]

The second target of Mossad was Mahmoud Hamshari, the PLO representative in France. Israel believed that he was the leader of Black September in France. Using an agent posing as an Italian journalist, Mossad lured him from his apartment in Paris to allow a demolition team to enter and install a bomb underneath a desk telephone. On December 8, 1972, the agent posing as a journalist phoned Hamshari's apartment and asked if he was speaking to Hamshari. After Hamshari identified himself, the agent signalled to other colleagues, who then sent a detonation signal down the telephone line, causing the bomb to explode. Hamshari was mortally wounded in the explosion, but managed to remain conscious long enough to tell detectives what had happened. Hamshari died in a hospital several weeks later. [17] He had given an interview a day after the hostage crisis, saying he was not worried for his life, but did not want to "taunt the devil." [18] Mossad did not comment on the fact that Hamsari was connected to the attack of Munich. [15] This assassination was the first in a series of Mossad targeted killings that took place in France. [19]

On the night of January 24, 1973, Hussein Al Bashir, a Jordanian, the Fatah representative in Cyprus, turned off the lights in his Olympic Hotel room in Nicosia. Moments later, a bomb planted under his bed was remotely detonated, killing him and destroying the room. Israel believed him to be the head of Black September in Cyprus, though another reason for his assassination may have been his close ties with the KGB. [20]

On April 6, 1973, Basil al-Kubaissi, a law professor at the American University of Beirut suspected by Israel of providing arms logistics for Black September as well as being involved in other Palestinian plots, [21] was gunned down in Paris while returning home from dinner. As in previous assassinations, he was shot around 12 times by two Mossad agents. According to police, the bullets were "carefully grouped about his heart and in his head". [22]

Three of the targets on the Mossad's list lived in heavily guarded houses in Lebanon that were beyond the reach of previous assassination methods. In order to assassinate them, Operation Spring of Youth was launched as a sub-operation of the larger "Wrath of God" campaign. On the night of April 9, 1973, Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13, and Sayeret Tzanhanim commandos landed on the coast of Lebanon in Zodiac speedboats launched from Israeli Navy missile boats offshore. The commandos were met by Mossad agents, who drove them to their targets in cars rented the previous day, and later drove them back to the beaches for extraction. The commandos were disguised as civilians, and some were dressed as women. In Beirut, they raided guarded apartment buildings and killed Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar (Operations leader in Black September), Kamal Adwan (a Chief of Operations in the PLO) and Kamal Nasser (PLO Executive Committee member and spokesman). During the operation, two Lebanese police officers, an Italian citizen, and Najjar's wife were also killed. One Israeli commando was wounded. Sayeret Tzanhanim paratroopers raided a six-story building that served as the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The paratroopers met strong resistance and lost two soldiers, but managed to destroy the building. Shayetet 13 naval commandos and Sayeret Tzanhanim paratroopers also raided PLO arms-manufacturing facilities and fuel dumps. [23] Some 12–100 PLO and PFLP members were killed during the attacks. [ citation needed ]

Three attacks quickly followed the Lebanon operation. Zaiad Muchasi, the replacement for Hussein Al Bashir in Cyprus, was killed by a bomb in his Athens hotel room on April 11. Two minor Black September members, Abdel Hamid Shibi and Abdel Hadi Nakaa, were seriously injured when their car was bombed in Rome. [24]

Mossad agents also began to follow Mohammad Boudia, the Algerian-born director of operations for Black September in France, who was known for his disguises and womanizing. On June 28, 1973, Boudia was killed in Paris by a pressure-activated bomb packed with heavy nuts and bolts placed under his car seat. [25]

On December 15, 1979, two Palestinians, Ali Salem Ahmed and Ibrahim Abdul Aziz, were killed in Cyprus. According to police, both men were shot with suppressed weapons at point-blank range. [26]

On June 17, 1982, two senior PLO members in Italy were killed in separate attacks. Nazeyh Mayer, a leading figure in the PLO's Rome office, was shot dead outside his home. Kamal Husain, deputy director of the PLO office in Rome, was killed by a shrapnel bomb placed under the back seat of his car as he drove home, less than seven hours after he had visited the home of Mayer and helped the police in their investigation. [26]

On July 23, 1982, Fadl Dani, deputy director of the PLO office in Paris, was killed by a bomb that had been placed in his car. On August 21, 1983, PLO official Mamoun Meraish was killed in his car in Athens by two Mossad operatives who shot him from a motorcycle. [27]

On June 10, 1986, Khaled Ahmed Nazal, Secretary-General of the PLO's DFLP faction, was gunned down outside a hotel in Athens, Greece. Nazal was shot four times in the head. [26] On October 21, 1986, Munzer Abu Ghazala, a senior PLO official and member of the Palestinian National Council, was killed by a bomb as he drove through a suburb of Athens. [26] [28]

On February 14, 1988, a car bomb exploded in Limassol, Cyprus, killing Palestinians Abu Al Hassan Qasim and Hamdi Adwan, and wounding Marwan Kanafami. [26]

Ali Hassan Salameh

Mossad continued to search for Ali Hassan Salameh, nicknamed the Red Prince, who was the head of Force 17 and the Black September operative believed by Israel to be the mastermind behind the Munich massacre. This belief has since been challenged by accounts of senior Black September officials, who say that while he was involved in many attacks in Europe, Salameh was not at all connected with the events in Munich. [29]

Almost a full year after Munich, Mossad believed they had finally located Salameh in the small Norwegian town Lillehammer. On July 21, 1973, in what would become known as the Lillehammer affair, a team of Mossad agents shot and killed Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter unrelated to the Munich attack and Black September, after an informant mistakenly identified Bouchiki as Salameh. Six Mossad agents, including two women, were arrested by local police, while others, including the team leader, Michael Harari, managed to escape back to Israel. Five of the captured were convicted of the killing and imprisoned, but were released and returned to Israel in 1975. Victor Ostrovsky claimed that Salameh was instrumental in leading Mossad off course by feeding it false information about his whereabouts. [30]

In January 1974, Mossad agents covertly deployed to Switzerland after receiving information that Salameh would meet PLO leaders in a church on January 12. Two assassins entered the church at the time of the meeting, and encountered three men who appeared to be Arab. One of them made a move for his weapon, and all three were then immediately shot and killed. The Mossad agents continued into the church to search for Salameh, but did not find him. In a short time, the decision was made to abort the mission and escape. [31]

Following the incident, operation commander Michael Harari ordered the mission to kill Salameh be aborted. The kidon team, however, elected to ignore the order and tried one more time to kill Salameh. Intelligence placed Salameh at a house in Tarifa, Spain. As three agents moved toward the house, they were approached by an Arab security guard. The guard raised an AK-47 assault rifle, and was immediately shot. The operation was aborted, and the team escaped to a safe house. [31]

In the aftermath of the Lillehammer affair, international outrage prompted Golda Meir to order the suspension of Operation "Wrath of God". [32] The ensuing Norwegian investigation and revelations by the captured agents compromised Mossad assets across Europe, including safe houses, agents, and operational methods. [33] Five years later, it was decided to recommence the operation under new Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and find those on the list still at large. [34]

Mossad began surveillance of Salameh's movements after tracking him to Beirut during late autumn of 1978. In November 1978, a female Mossad agent identifying herself as Erika Chambers entered Lebanon with a British passport issued in 1975, and rented an apartment on the Rue Verdun, a street frequently used by Salameh. Several other agents arrived, including two using the pseudonyms Peter Scriver and Roland Kolberg, traveling with British and Canadian passports respectively. Some time after their arrival a Volkswagen packed with plastic explosives was parked along Rue Verdun within view of the rented apartment. At 3:35 p.m. on January 22, 1979, as Salameh and four bodyguards drove down the street in a Chevrolet station wagon, [35] the explosives in the Volkswagen were detonated from the apartment with a radio device, killing everyone in the vehicle. After five unsuccessful attempts, [36] Mossad had assassinated Salameh. However, the blast also killed four innocent bystanders, including a British student and a German nun, and injured 18 other people in the vicinity. Immediately following the operation the three Mossad officers fled without trace, as well as up to 14 other agents believed to have been involved in the operation. [36]

Munich hostage-takers

Three of the eight terrorists that carried out the Munich massacre survived the botched German rescue attempt at Fürstenfeldbruck airbase on September 6, 1972 and were taken into German custody: Jamal Al-Gashey, Adnan Al-Gashey, and Mohammed Safady. On October 29, they were released in exchange for the hostages onboard hijacked Lufthansa Flight 615 and travelled to Libya, where they went into hiding. [37]

It had been thought that Adnan Al-Gashey and Mohammed Safady were both assassinated by Mossad several years after the massacre Al-Gashey was found after making contact with a cousin in a Gulf State, and Safady was found by remaining in touch with family in Lebanon. [38] This account was challenged by Aaron J. Klein, who wrote that Adnan died of heart failure in the 1970s and that Safady was killed by Christian Phalangists in Lebanon in the early 1980s. However, in July 2005, PLO veteran Tawfiq Tirawi told Klein that Safady, whom Tirawi claimed as a close friend, was "as alive as you are." [39] Jamal Al-Gashey went into hiding in North Africa, and is believed to be living in Tunisia he last surfaced in 1999, when he granted an interview to director Kevin MacDonald for the documentary One Day in September. [40] [41]

Other actions

Along with direct assassinations, Mossad used a variety of other means to respond to the Munich massacre and deter future terrorist action. Mossad engaged in a campaign of letter bombs against Palestinian officials across Europe. [42] Historian Benny Morris writes that these attacks caused non-fatal injuries to their targets, which included persons in Algeria and Libya, Palestinian student activists in Bonn and Copenhagen, and a Red Crescent official in Stockholm. [5] Klein also cites an incident in Cairo where a bomb malfunctioned, sparing the two Palestinian targets. [43]

Former Mossad katsa Victor Ostrovsky claimed that Mossad also used psychological warfare tactics such as running obituaries of still-living militants and sending highly detailed personal information to others. [42] Reeve further stated that Mossad would call junior Palestinian officials, and after divulging to them their personal information, would warn them to disassociate from any Palestinian cause. [44]

Other assassinations

Several assassinations or assassination attempts have been attributed to the "Wrath of God" campaign, although doubt exists as to whether Mossad was behind them, with breakaway Palestinian factions being suspected of carrying them out. The first such assassination occurred on January 4, 1978, when Said Hammami, the PLO representative in London, was shot and killed. The assassination is suspected of being the work of either Mossad or the Abu Nidal Organization. [45] On August 3, 1978, Ezzedine Kalak, chief of the PLO's Paris bureau, and his deputy Hamad Adnan, were killed at their offices in the Arab League building. Three other members of the Arab League and PLO staff were wounded. [26] This attack was either the work of Mossad or the Abu Nidal Organization. On July 27, 1979. Zuheir Mohsen, head of PLO military operations, was gunned down in Cannes, France, just after leaving a casino. Responsibility for the attack has been placed by various sources on Mossad, other Palestinians, and possibly Egypt. [46]

On June 1, 1981, Naim Khader, the PLO representative in Belgium, was assassinated in Brussels. Officials at the PLO information and liaison office in Brussels issued a statement accusing Israel of being behind the killing. [26] Abu Daoud, a Black September commander who openly claimed to have helped plan the Munich attack, was shot multiple times on August 1, 1981 by a gunman in a Warsaw hotel cafe. Daoud survived the attack. [47] It is unclear whether this was done by Mossad or another breakaway Palestinian faction. [48] Daoud claimed that the attack was carried out by a Palestinian double agent for Mossad, who was killed by the PLO ten years later. On March 1, 1982, PLO official Nabil Wadi Aranki was killed in Madrid. [26] On June 8, 1992 PLO head of intelligence Atef Bseiso was shot and killed in Paris by two gunmen with suppressed weapons. While the PLO and a book by Israeli author Aaron Klein blamed Mossad for the killing, other reports indicate that the Abu Nidal Organization was behind it. [49] [50]

Black September response

Black September did attempt and carry out a number of attacks and hostage takings against Israel.

Similar to the Mossad letter-bomb campaign, dozens of letter bombs were sent from Amsterdam to Israeli diplomatic posts around the world in September and October 1972. One such attack killed Ami Shachori, an Israeli Agricultural Counselor in Britain. [51]

Attempted assassination of Golda Meir in Rome

A terrorist operation was planned by Black September when it learned that Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would be travelling to Rome to meet with Pope Paul VI in January 1973. The planned visit was placed under a regimen of strict secrecy in Israel, and news of the upcoming visit was probably leaked by a pro-Palestinian priest in the Vatican Secretariat of State. Black September commander Ali Hassan Salameh began planning a missile attack against Meir's plane as it arrived in Rome. Salameh's goal was to kill not only Meir, but also key cabinet ministers and senior Mossad officers accompanying her. At the time, Salameh was negotiating with the Soviet Union, asking for safe haven, and he hoped that by the time Israel recovered from this blow, he and his men would be in the Soviet Union and out of Israel's reach. Black September smuggled several shoulder-launched Strela 2 missiles to Bari, Italy, from Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, by boat. The missiles were then smuggled to Rome and positioned around Fiumicino Airport shortly before Meir's arrival. To divert Mossad's vigilance away from Rome in the run-up to the attack, Salameh planned a terrorist attack on the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. [52]

On December 28, 1972, four Black September members took over the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, holding 12 hostages. They raised the PLO flag over the building, and threatened to kill the hostages unless 36 PLO prisoners were released. The building was surrounded by Thai troops and police. The option of a rescue operation was considered in Israel but ruled out. A rescue operation was considered a logistical impossibility, and it was also thought that as the embassy was in busy central Bangkok, the Thai government would never allow the possibility of a shootout to occur. Though their demands were not met, negotiations secured the release of all the hostages and the Black September militants were given safe passage to Cairo. [53]

Mossad found out about the plan to assassinate Golda Meir on January 14, 1973, when a local volunteer informed Mossad that he had handled two telephone calls from a payphone in an apartment block where PLO members sometimes stayed. The calls were in Arabic, which he spoke. Speaking in code, the caller stated that it was "time to deliver the birthday candles for the celebration". Mossad Director-General Zvi Zamir was convinced that this was a coded order connected to an upcoming attack. Zamir had been convinced that the Bangkok embassy raid was a diversion for a larger attack, due to the participants in the raid having so easily given up, something he did not expect from a group as well-trained, financed, strategically cunning, and motivated as Black September. Zamir further interpreted that "birthday candles" could refer to weapons, and the most likely one with a candle connotation was a rocket. Zamir linked the possible upcoming missile attack with Meir's upcoming arrival, and guessed that Black September was planning to shoot down Meir's plane. Zamir then sent a Mossad katsa, or field intelligence officer, to Rome, and travelled to the city with a team of Mossad officers. Zamir met with the head of DIGOS, the Italian anti-terrorism unit, and laid out his concerns. DIGOS officers raided the apartment blocks from where the calls had been made, and found a Russian instruction manual for launching missiles. Throughout the night, DIGOS teams, each accompanied by a Mossad katsa, raided known PLO apartments, but found no evidence of any plot to kill Meir. In the morning, a few hours before Meir's plane arrived, Mossad agents and Italian police surrounded Fiumicino Airport. [54]

A Mossad katsa spotted a Fiat van parked in a field close to the flight path. The agent ordered the driver to step out. The back door then flew open, and two militants opened fire. The agent returned fire, severely wounding both of them. The van was found to contain six missiles. The driver escaped on foot, and was pursued by the agent. He was captured as he tried to hijack a car driven by another patrolling Mossad operative. The driver was bundled into the car and taken to the truck that served as Mossad's mobile command post, where he revealed the whereabouts of the second missile team after being severely beaten. The truck then sped off, heading north. A cafe-van with three missile launchers protruding from the roof was spotted. The truck then rammed the van, turning it over, trapping the launch team inside and half-crushing them beneath the weight of the missiles, and turning the van's fixed launchers away from the sky. The unconscious driver was pulled from the van and tossed to the side of the road, and DIGOS was alerted that there had been "an interesting accident they should look into". Zamir briefly considered killing the Palestinian terrorists, but felt that their deaths would serve as an embarrassment to Golda Meir's audience with the pope. The terrorists, who had been involved in the Munich massacre, were taken to the hospital and eventually allowed to fly to Libya, but within months, all were killed by Mossad. [55] [56]

Assassinations of other Israelis and international officials

Two Israelis suspected of being intelligence agents were shot and killed, as well as an Israeli official in Washington. Baruch Cohen, a Mossad agent in Madrid, was killed on January 23, 1973 by a young Palestinian contact. [21] Mossad then conducted a side operation to locate and kill Cohen's assassins, and at least three Palestinians involved in planning and carrying out Cohen's killing were assassinated. [57] Vittorio Olivares, an Italian El Al employee suspected by Black September, was shot and killed in Rome in April 1973. [58] The Israeli military attaché to the United States, Colonel Yosef Alon, was assassinated on July 1, 1973 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. [59] [60] Alon's killer was never officially identified, and the FBI closed its investigation after failing to identify the culprits, but theorized that Black September was behind the assassination. Fred Burton, former deputy chief of the counterterrorism division of the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service and Vice-President of the private intelligence and consulting firm Stratfor, conducted an investigation and concluded that Alon's killer was a Black September operative who was killed by Mossad in 2011. [61] Ami Shachori, an agriculture counselor working at the Israeli Embassy in London, was assassinated by Black September on September 19, 1973. [62]

Black September conducted several other attacks only indirectly against Israel, including the seizure of Western diplomats in the Saudi embassy in Khartoum (see: 1973 Khartoum diplomatic assassinations), but the group was officially dissolved by al-Fatah in December 1974. [63]

Arab reaction

While the first wave of assassinations from October 1972 to early 1973 caused greater consternation among Palestinian officials, it was the raid on Lebanon – Operation Spring of Youth in April 1973 – that truly shocked the Arab world. [64] The audacity of the mission, plus the fact that senior leaders such as Yasser Arafat, Abu Iyad and Ali Hassan Salameh were only yards away from the fighting, contributed to the creation of the belief that Israel was capable of striking anywhere, anytime. [65] It also brought about popular mourning. At the funerals for the victims of the raid, half a million people came into the streets of Beirut. [65] Nearly six years later, 100,000 people, including Arafat, turned out in the same city to bury Salameh. [66]

The operation also caused some of the less radical Arab governments to begin putting pressure on Palestinians to stop attacks against Israeli targets and threatened to pull support for the Palestinians if they used their passports during the course of attacks against Israel. As a result, some Palestinian militants began to instead use forged Israeli documents. [67]

In his 2005 book Striking Back, author Aaron Klein – who says he based his book in large part on rare interviews with key Mossad officers involved in the reprisal missions – contends that Mossad got only one man directly connected to the massacre. The man, Atef Bseiso, was killed in Paris in 1992. Klein goes on to say that the intelligence on Wael Zwaiter, the first Palestinian to die, was "uncorroborated and improperly cross-referenced. Looking back, his assassination was a mistake." He elaborates, stating that the real planners and executors of Munich had gone into hiding along with bodyguards in the Eastern Bloc and Arab world, where Israel could not reach them. Most of those killed were minor Palestinian figures who happened to be wandering unprotected around Western Europe. "Israeli security officials claimed these dead men were responsible for Munich PLO pronouncements made them out to be important figures and so the image of Mossad as capable of delivering death at will grew and grew." The operation functioned not just to punish the perpetrators of Munich but also to disrupt and deter future terrorist acts, writes Klein. "For the second goal, one dead PLO operative was as good as another." Klein quotes a senior intelligence source: "Our blood was boiling. When there was information implicating someone, we didn't inspect it with a magnifying glass." [39]

Abu Daoud, one of the main planners of the Munich massacre, said in interviews before the release of the movie Munich that "I returned to Ramallah in 1995, and Israel knew that I was the planner of the Munich operation." [68] The leader of Black September, Abu Iyad, was also not killed by Israel, although he was assassinated in 1991 in Tunis by the Abu Nidal Organization. [69] Former Mossad chief Zvi Zamir has countered this in an interview in 2006, when he said that Israel was more interested in striking the "infrastructure of the terrorist organizations in Europe" than those directly responsible for Munich. "We had no choice but to start with preventive measures." [70]

As the campaign continued, relatives of the athletes killed at Munich were kept informed. Simon Reeve writes that some felt vindicated, while others, including the wife of fencer Andre Spitzer, felt ambivalent. [71] The wife of assassinated Mossad agent Baruch Cohen called the operation, especially a side operation directed against those who had murdered her husband, sickening. [71]

According to Ronen Bergman (security correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth and expert on Mossad): "This campaign stopped most PLO terrorism outside the borders of Israel. Did it help in any way to bring peace to the Middle East? No. Strategically it was a complete failure." [7]

Former katsa Victor Ostrovsky has said that the direction Meir set Mossad on, namely that of focusing heavily on the people and operations of the PLO, took energy away from intelligence gathering on Israel's neighbors. [72] This led Mossad to miss the warning signs of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which caught Israeli defenses by surprise.

The 1984 book Vengeance, by Canadian journalist George Jonas, tells the story of an Israeli assassination squad from the viewpoint of a self-described former Mossad agent and leader of the squad, Avner. Avner has since been claimed to be a pseudonym for Yuval Aviv, an Israeli who now runs a private investigation agency in New York. However, Jonas denies that Aviv was his source for Vengeance, although the book has not been independently verified beyond the fact checking Jonas says he has done. [73] Jonas points to a former Director General of the RCMP Security Service, John Starnes, who he says believes his source's essential story. [73] In spite of this, Mossad's director at the time of the operation, Zvi Zamir, has stated that he never knew Aviv. [74] Several former Mossad officers who took part in Operation "Wrath of God" have also told British journalists that Yuval Aviv's version of events is not accurate. [75] After its 1984 publication the book was listed on the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists in Britain. [73]

Since its release, two films have been based on Vengeance. In 1986, Michael Anderson directed the HBO film Sword of Gideon. Steven Spielberg released a second movie based on the account in December 2005 entitled Munich. Both movies use Yuval Aviv's pseudonym "Avner" and take a certain amount of artistic license with his account.

Man who killed New Mexico police officer had criminal past, drug history: authorities

Widow of slain New Mexico police officer to file wrongful death lawsuit after DHS ‘botched’ operation

Nearly two months after Officer Darian Jarrott was gunned down during a traffic stop, his widow is demanding answers. &nbsp

The man who was seen on video gunning down a New Mexico State Police Officer before being fatally wounded during a police chase with responding officers allegedly had a "violent criminal history," including drug trafficking charges, from out-of-state offenses, according to authorities.

New Mexico State Police officials recently revealed that Officer Darian Jarrott was apparently caught by surprise when Omar Felix Cueva opened fire during a highway traffic stop. Cueva, 39, had agreed to at the time to temporarily surrender a rifle when, instead, he opened fire, officials said late last week.

Cueva fired at least once at Jarrott across the pickup truck’s bed and then fatally shot Jarrott after he ducked and fell, according to an agency statement and video excerpts released Friday.

Police also released video of the Feb. 4 shooting, which showed Jarrott pulling Cueva over. Police said Cueva shot Jarrott a few minutes later multiple times, including in the head.

"Cueva fired several more rounds at Officer Jarrott who was struck by gunfire and killed," the statement said. "As Cueva ran toward the front of the truck on the passenger’s side, he shot Officer Jarrott point-blank in the back of the head."


Authorities previously said Cueva fatally shot Jarrott after being pulled over on eastbound Interstate 10 between Deming and Las Cruces and that Cueva later died in a shootout with other officers following a pursuit.

On Monday, Jarrott’s wife, Gabriella Jarrott filed a tort claim notice with the state seeking damages, one of the first steps in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Jarrott alleged that her husband was told to conduct a dangerous traffic stop without backup and was not informed of the details of the investigation, which led to his death.

After fatally shooting Jarrott during the February traffic, stop, Cueva fled the scene in his vehicle and fired on officers during what became a 40-mile police chase, police said. Las Cruces officers returned gunshots, fatally hitting Cueva.

A Las Cruces police officer was also shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, a spokesperson said.

New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Thornton told reporters that Cueva was on his way to Las Cruces to do a drug deal.

Video shows moment New Mexico police officer Darian Jarrott fatally shot by Omar Felix Cueva (Austin Contreras via Storyful)

The Associated Press cited Thorton in describing how Cueva had a "violent criminal history," that included drug trafficking charges from outside New Mexico.

New Mexico State Police told Fox News on Thursday Cueva’s criminal history included at least nine charges filed in California dating as far back as 1994 and as recent as 2010.

Spokespersons from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and New Mexico State Police did not respond to Fox News’ requests for information on Wednesday morning.

Cueva was charged with vandalism in June 1994 and with possession of a controlled substance in September 2001 and October 2002, according to the report.

In April 2004, he was charged with importation of cocaine in August 2006, he was hit with charges of burglary, fictitious check and false check and in March 2007 he allegedly committed a probation violation, KFOX14 reported.

One year later, in March 2008, he was charged with import of a controlled substance and, in September 2010, he was charged with possession with intent of crystal meth or ICE, the outlet reported.

Following Jarrott's death, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered all flags at state buildings lowered to half-staff.

Jarrott, who joined the State Police in 2015 after previously working as state transportation inspector and local law enforcement officer, was from the small community of Lordsburg and was stationed in Deming.

Thornton said the officer had a reputation for always having a smile on his face.

"Even when there was a situation that was tough, the guy was always smiling," Thornton said.

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