How a little girl thwarted liquidation of top Hamas terrorist

An attempted liquidation of a Hamas leader in the '90s went all wrong, almost leading to the execution of 2 Mossad agents.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Khaled Mashal
Khaled Mashal

The next chapter of Channel 13's 'Hit List' goes back to the 1990s when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the elimination of Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, then living in Jordan. The order came in retaliation for a series of suicide bombings perpetrated by Hamas in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, leaving 20 Israelis dead and hundreds injured.

As described below, the operation suffered from glitches from the start and ultimately ended in a colossal fiasco.

Danny Yatom, head of the Mossad at the time: "On September 25th, the team was following Mashal's car and the first glitch occurred. The team that was following the car didn't realize that Mashal's two small children were sitting in the back seat - they were so small that their heads weren't visible."

Interviewer: Where was the commander of the operation located? In other words, the person who could stop the operation.

Mishka Ben-David, Mossad agent at the time: "The other side of the street but he wasn't able to stop the operation because it had been decided to carry it out without maintaining contact with him."

Interviewer: You mean he couldn't signal to the agents?

Ben-David: "He could signal as long as the agents could see him. At the moment that he signaled that the car was coming and the agents entered their positions behind a very wide pillar, he didn't have eye contact with them anymore or a way to talk to them. And a truck was coming down the incline, there was no way to stop it."

"Mashal's young daughter - who was sitting in the back seat [of his car] but no one realized because they couldn't see her - left the car and ran after him. Mashal's driver immediately ran after her to stop her."

Yatom: "And according to my directives, it became a 'no-go.' We don't carry out the operation [in such circumstances]. But the agents started carrying it out anyway."

The end of the dramatic story can be seen on Sunday night on Channel 13.