• Three Minutes

Digging Old Graves

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Quarantined, we all have been pretty much engaged with the likes of Netflix and Prime. So, today we also thought of entertaining you with an inked documentary about one of the greatest intelligence operations in the history, Operation Wrath of God.

Precisely, it is a story about the best intelligence agency in the world, Mossad. To give you a bit of background, Mossad is the intelligence agency of Israel devoted to counterterrorism and covert operations and is not abided by the constitutional laws of Israel.

Interestingly, you will find a lot of female agents in the on-field team of Mossad, a strategy curated to lure and kill. Supporting the intelligence agency, the cyber cell of Israel is exemplary which is funded by Mossad itself. To praise its excellence, you may read about the Pegasus scandal in India in 2019, but that’s a story for another time.

Now, Operation Wrath of God is one of the most notable operations by Mossad, a revenge mission aimed to kill each and every individual involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli players in the Summer Olympics of 1972. These players were killed by Palestinian militant organization, Black September and operatives of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who claims that this action was an act to retrieve their independence.

For those who don’t know, Palestine and Israel have not been on good terms since the 1948 civil war, which was an inter-communal conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. Both the parties have been involved in a land dispute, something like India-Pakistan’s conflict over Kashmir. However, post the war in 1967, Israel took over West Bank and Gaza strip, which has a majority of the Palestinian population but now is under Israeli occupation. This worsened the conflict.

Back to our story. The eight-member team which attacked the eleven Israeli players killed 3 of them and took the remaining 8 as hostages. In return, they asked the Israeli government to release 243 Palestine convicts, a demand instantly refused by the government. While these negotiations were going on, Mossad asked the German authorities to provide them with the permission to attack the attackers in Munich but the German authorities refused.

They feared the safety of other players.

The negotiations failed. The attackers, understanding that Israel will not bow to their demands, asked the German authorities to arrange them a helicopter so that they, along with the hostages, can flee the site safely. German authorities assumed that they can kill the attackers on their way out and agreed to the demand. But later, the things got really messed up. Amidst firing, all the players were killed and the attackers were either killed or captured.

The Israeli government was agonized. They sanctioned a revenge operation called Wrath of God to set an example to the world that no one should mess with Israel. For the details, the operation just had 15 people involved and was in action for about 20 years! This was majorly because the people involved in the massacre were hidden on international grounds and tracking them wasn’t easy. The cyber cell came in action and consequently, once tracked, the involved people were either shot 12 times (11 for each player and one for Israel) or their hotel rooms were bombed. Under these arrangements, the Mossad agents usually rented rooms opposite to the target’s or the female agents lured the target to a bombed residence.

In one such case, a Mossad agent posed as an Italian reporter and lured Mahmoud Hamshari, a PLO representative, out of his residence. Meanwhile, her team members installed a bomb underneath his desk telephone. Later, the journalist called to ensure that Mahmoud Hamshari was on the line and when confirmed, the bomb exploded. Other members were killed in a similar fashion. The assassination of massacre’s mastermind Ali Hassan Salameh was the trickiest. Mossad was misled but by wrong information which costed innocent lives but after five unsuccessful attempts, he was bombed to death. In the process, lives were lost and even the operation was asked to be terminated by Israeli authorities itself.

Interestingly, several hours before each assassination, each target's family received flowers with a condolence card reading: A reminder we do not forget or forgive.

Can you feel the goosebumps?

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