Targeted Assassinations: Israel’s Greatest Hits

Israel’s former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Tamir Hayman admitted that Israel played a role in the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) major general Qasem Soleimani in Iran in 2020. This follows Israel conveying to Hamas via Egypt that in the wake of recent terror attacks, it may resume targeted assassinations against Hamas. In 2006, Israel’s Supreme Court held that targeted killings were legal in certain circumstances.

Soleimani’s assassination by Israel was one of several high-profile assassinations of key arch-terrorists. The following is a compilation of “Israel’s greatest hits” on its enemies.

Wadie Haddad, A.K.A. “Abu Hani,” was a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was one of the architects of the 1976 Entebbe hijacking. Mossad switched his toothpaste for a toxic substitute, which slowly killed him in 1978.

Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir, A.K.A. “Abu Jihad,” was a co-founder of Fatah, and was the architect of numerous terrorist attacks against Israel, including the “Coastal Road Massacre” that killed 38 Israelis on a bus in 1978. He was assassinated in 1988 in his home in Tunis by an elite commando unit of 26 men. The group was led by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who shares the title of Israel’s most decorated soldier. Israel essentially admitted to the attack when Nahum Lev in 2012 admitted to Israeli press that he killed Abu Jihad. On Abu Jihad, Lev stated that “[Abu Jihad] was involved in a lot of horrible things against the citizens. He was a dead man walking. I shot him without hesitation.”

Yahya Ayyash, A.K.A. “The Engineer,” was a bomb maker for Hamas. He built the bombs used in a series of homicide bus bombings, including the 1993 Mehola Junction bombing (1 civilian death), the 1994 Afula Bus massacre (8 civilian deaths), the 1994 Hadera central station massacre (5 civilian deaths), the 1994 Dizengoff Street bus bombing (22 civilian deaths), the 1994 Kfar Darom bus attack (seven soldiers and one civilian death), 1995 Ramat Gan bus bombing (six civilian deaths), and the 1995 Ramat Eshkol bus bombing (4 civilians and one police officer killed). Shin Bet rigged his cell phone with 15 grams of RDX explosives, which they remotely detonated when he picked up a call in 1996 in Gaza. Ayyash died instantly. For the definitive account, read The Hunt for the Engineer: How Israeli Agents Tracked the Hamas Master Bomber by Samuel L Katz.

Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin was a co-founder of Hamas. According to Israel, Yassin had orchestrated multiple suicide bombings and Qassam rocket attacks against Israel. Israel assassinated him via Hellfire missiles fired from an Apache helicopter as he was leaving a mosque in Gaza in 2004.

Mahmoud Abdel Rauf al-Mabhouh was Hamas’ chief weapons procurer. He was paralyzed and then suffocated in a hotel in Dubai in 2010, in what is largely believed to be a Mossad operation. Once giving shelter to Hamas operatives, in 2014, the UAE would recognize the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ progenitor, as a terrorist organization. In 2020, the UAE became the first nation to normalize relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords.

Samir Kuntar, while working for the Palestine Liberation Front, led the 1979 Nahariya attack on Israel, where he shot one civilian in the back and bashed in the head of a 4-year-old child. He was captured by Israel, tried, and then released from prison in a 2008 prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. He was killed in 2015 after allegedly recruiting Syrian Druze to attack Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. In 2016, a member of Israel’s Knesset admitted that Israel assassinated Kuntar.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, A.K.A. “Abu Mohammed al-Masri,” rose to become the second highest ranking member of al-Qaeda. He was allegedly responsible for the 1988 bombings of the American embassies in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi. In 2000, he was killed by the Mossad at the request of the United States. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Abdullah’s death in 2021.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the chief scientist of Iran’s nuclear project, as well as a brigadier general of the IRGC. In 2020, Fakhrizadeh was assassinated on a road in Iran using a remote-controlled gun. In 2021, former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen telegraphed, but didn’t formally admit, Israel’s responsibility in the assassination.

Steve Postal

Steve Postal

Steve Postal has been previously published in The American Spectator American Thinker, the Christian Post, The Federalist, Israel National News, The Times of Israel, and The Washington Post.