Israel admits to having killed Arafat's "number two"

After almost 25 years since the death of Khalil al-Wazir, better known as Abu Jihad, in Tunisia, Israel acknowledged on Thursday (1st) that its spy agency, the Mossad, was responsible for the murder. According to the Huffington Post, two of those involved in the operation are now in senior positions in the Government...

According to the Huffington Post, two of those involved in the operation are now in senior positions in the Government:  the Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Yaalon.  Barak was the "number two" of the army and Yaalon was the head of Sayeret Matkal, an elite unit that took part in the operation, along with the Mossad.

The Israeli daily of large mass circulation, Yediot Ahronot, had the information 12 years ago, but only now was authorized by the country's military censorship to disseminate it.

The newspaper published an interview with the operational who killed Khalil al-Wazir (the interview was made before his death in a motorcycle accident in 2000). "I hit him with a round of gunfire. I was careful not to hurt the woman who appeared in the meantime," said the one in command, Nahum Lev, in that interview. "Abu Jihad was involved in awful actions against civilians.  I shot without hesitation."

One of the commandos was disguised as a woman on a romantic vacation, and one of the weapons was hidden in a box of chocolates.

Abu Jihad, one of the founders of Fatah, was seen by Israel as a terrorist, and by Palestinians as a fighter for freedom. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), was founded by Arafat, and Fatah was the majority faction, that at its height was based in Tunisia.

Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir was born on October 10, 1935 to a Palestinian Sunni Muslim shopkeeper in Ramla in Palestine. When its inhabitants were summarily expelled by Israeli forces in July 1948, al-Wazir made his way to Gaza City, where he resumed his education at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school.

His assassination, in April 1988, was seen as the work of the Mossad, and condemned by the United States and by the international community. The UN Security Council approved Resolution 611 condemning "the aggression perpetrated against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Tunisia," without specifically mentioning Israel.

Now this suspicion is confirmed and a few details are given:  the operation was carried out by 26 Israeli commandos, among them two that approached the heavily guarded PLO headquarters in Tunis disguised as couple of tourists, but carrying weapons with silencers.

Translated from the Portuguese version by:

Lisa Karpova



Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey