Forty years ago, Wadie Haddad was one of the world’s most wanted men. Bold, determined, ruthless, Haddad was the founder of the far-Left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
He trained notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal and masterminded the hijack of an Air France plane that was flown to Entebbe in Uganda and later rescued by Israeli commandos.
Not surprisingly, the Israeli secret service, Mossad, wanted him dead. But six years after they first put out a ‘kill order’, Haddad was still very much alive, living in apparent comfort in Baghdad.
What happened next was worthy of a James Bond thriller. On January 10, 1978, a Mossad agent inside Haddad’s inner circle, known only as Sadness, switched his toothpaste for an identical tube laced with a deadly toxin, developed in a secret laboratory near Tel Aviv.
Every time Haddad brushed his teeth, a tiny quantity of the toxin worked its way through his gums into his bloodstream.
Forty years ago, Wadie Haddad was one of the world’s most wanted men. Bold, determined, ruthless, Haddad was the founder of the far-Left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Little by little, he began to die. His Palestinian friends contacted the East German secret police, who flew him to a hospital in East Berlin. Ten days later, bleeding from every orifice, Haddad died in agony.
The doctors were baffled. But back in Israel, Mossad congratulated itself on a job well done.
What happened to Haddad, argues Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman in a riveting new book, was merely the most melodramatic example of what is now an enduring pattern.
Israel, a country born in bloodshed, has become the world leader in assassinations.
The numbers alone are extraordinary. Not only have Mossad’s secret agents killed more people than the agents of any other state since World War II, but the pace has rapidly increased, with some 800 operations in the past decade.
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