|Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations|
המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים
الموساد للاستخبارات والمهام الخاصة
|Formed||13 December 1949(as the Central Institute for Coordination)|
|Headquarters||Tel Aviv, Israel|
|Employees||Classified (7,000 estimated)|
|Annual budget||Classified (US$2.73 billion estimated)|
|Parent agency||Office of the Prime Minister|
Mossad (UK: /ˈmɒsæd/ MOSS-ad, US: /moʊˈsɑːd/ moh-SAHD)[a] is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security).
Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counter-terrorism. Its director answers directly and only to the Prime Minister. Its annual budget is estimated to be around 10 billion shekels (US$2.73 billion) and it is estimated that it employs around 7,000 people directly, making it one of the world's largest espionage agencies. Unlike other security bodies (such as the Israel Defense Forces or the Israel Security Agency), its purpose, objectives, roles, missions, powers or budget have not been defined in any law.
Mossad was formed on December 13, 1949, as the Central Institute for Coordination at the recommendation of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Reuven Shiloah. Ben Gurion wanted a central body to coordinate and improve cooperation between the existing security services—the army's intelligence department (AMAN), the Internal Security Service (Shin Bet), and the foreign office's "political department". In March 1951, it was reorganized and made a part of the prime minister's office, reporting directly to the prime minister.
Mossad has been described by Ronen Bergman as a "deep state" because of the way (justified by "state security") that it has been able to carry out actions that would otherwise be subject to prosecution.
The largest department of Mossad is Collections, tasked with many aspects of conducting espionage overseas. Employees in the Collections Department operate under a variety of covers, including diplomatic and unofficial. The Political Action and Liaison Department is responsible for working with allied foreign intelligence services, and nations that have no normal diplomatic relations with Israel. Additionally, Mossad has a Research Department, tasked with intelligence production, and a Technology Department concerned with the development of tools for Mossad activities.
Metsada is a unit responsible for attacking the enemy. Metsada runs "small units of combatants" whose missions include "assassinations and sabotage".
The Kidon is a unit which belongs to the Caesarea department (one of Mossad's eight departments). It is described by Yaakov Katz as "an elite group of expert assassins who operate under the Caesarea branch of the espionage organization. Not much is known about this mysterious unit, details of which are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the Israeli intelligence community." It recruits from "former soldiers from the elite IDF special force units." This unit has been a part of Israel's policy of assassinations, which according to Ronen Bergman is a policy that Israel has used more than any other country in the West since World War II, stating it has carried out at least 2,700 assassination missions.
Mossad opened a venture capital fund in June 2017, to invest in high-tech startups to develop new cyber technologies. The names of technology startups funded by Mossad are not published.
Together with Shurat HaDin, Mossad[when?] started Operation Harpoon, for "destroying terrorists’ money networks.”
Mossad's former motto, be-tachbūlōt ta`aseh lekhā milchāmāh (Hebrew: בתחבולות תעשה לך מלחמה) is a quote from the Bible (Proverbs 24:6): "For by wise guidance you can wage your war" (NRSV). The motto was later[when?] changed to another Proverbs passage: be-'éyn tachbūlōt yippol `ām; ū-teshū`āh be-rov yō'éts (Hebrew: באין תחבולות יפול עם, ותשועה ברוב יועץ, Proverbs 11:14). This is translated by NRSV as: "Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
- Reuven Shiloah, 1949–53
- Isser Harel, 1953–63
- Meir Amit, 1963–68
- Zvi Zamir, 1968–73
- Yitzhak Hofi, 1973–82
- Nahum Admoni, 1982–89
- Shabtai Shavit, 1989–96
- Danny Yatom, 1996–98
- Efraim Halevy, 1998–2002
- Meir Dagan, 2002–11
- Tamir Pardo, 2011–16
- Yossi Cohen, 2016–21
- David Barnea, 2021–
Sayanim (Hebrew: סייענים, lit. helpers, assistants) are unpaid Jewish civilians who help Mossad out of a sense of devotion to Israel. They are recruited by Mossad's field agents, katsas, to provide logistical support for Mossad operations. A sayan running a rental agency, for instance, could help Mossad agents rent a car without the usual documentation. The usage of sayanim allows the Mossad to operate with a slim budget yet conduct vast operations worldwide. Sayanim can have dual citizenships but are often not Israeli citizens.
The sayanim concept was created by Meir Amit in the 1960s. According to Gordon Thomas, there were 4,000 sayanim in Britain and some 16,000 in the United States in 1998.
Israeli students called bodlim are often used as gofers for Mossad.
- Provision of intelligence for the cutting of communications between Port Said and Cairo in 1956.
- Mossad spy Wolfgang Lotz, holding West German citizenship, infiltrated Egypt in 1957, and gathered intelligence on Egyptian missile sites, military installations, and industries. He also composed a list of German rocket scientists working for the Egyptian government, and sent some of them letter bombs. After the East German head of state made a state visit to Egypt, the Egyptian government detained thirty West German citizens as a goodwill gesture. Lotz, assuming that he had been discovered, confessed to his cold war espionage activities.
- After a tense May 25, 1967, confrontation with CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden, who warned that the United States would help defend Egypt if Israel launched a surprise attack, Mossad director Meir Amit flew to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and reported back to the Israeli cabinet that the United States had given Israel "a flickering green light" to attack.
- Provision of intelligence on the Egyptian Air Force for Operation Focus, the opening air strike of the Six-Day War.
- Operation Bulmus 6 – Intelligence assistance in the Commando Assault on Green Island, Egypt during the War of Attrition.
- Operation Damocles – A campaign of assassination and intimidation against German rocket scientists employed by Egypt in building missiles.
- A bomb sent to the Heliopolis rocket factory killed five Egyptian workers, allegedly sent by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.
- Heinz Krug, 49, the chief of a Munich company supplying military hardware to Egypt disappeared in September 1962 and is believed to have been assassinated by Otto Skorzeny on behalf of the Mossad.
In September 1956, Mossad established a secretive network in Morocco to smuggle Moroccan Jews to Israel after a ban on immigration to Israel was imposed.
In early 1991, two Mossad operatives infiltrated the Moroccan port of Casablanca and planted a tracking device on the freighter Al-Yarmouk, which was carrying a cargo of North Korean missiles bound for Syria. The ship was to be sunk by the Israeli Air Force, but the mission was later called off by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The 1988 killing of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), a founder of Fatah.
The alleged killing of Salah Khalaf, head of intelligence of the PLO and second in command of Fatah behind Yasser Arafat, in 1991.
The 2016 alleged killing of Hamas operative, Mohammad al-Zawahri, in Tunisia. Mohammad Zawari, known to Israel's security echelon as "The Engineer", was a Hamas affiliated engineer who was believed to be constructing drones for the group. He was shot at close range.
For Operation Entebbe in 1976, Mossad provided intelligence regarding Entebbe International Airport and extensively interviewed hostages who had been released.
In the late 1990s, after Mossad was tipped off to the presence of two Iranian agents in Johannesburg on a mission to procure advanced weapons systems from Denel, a Mossad agent was deployed, and met up with a local Jewish contact. Posing as South African intelligence, they abducted the Iranians, drove them to a warehouse, and beat and intimidated them before forcing them to leave the country.
After the 1994 AMIA bombing, the largest bombing in Argentine history, Mossad began gathering intelligence for a raid by Israeli Special Forces on the Iranian embassy in Khartoum as retaliation. The operation was called off due to fears that another attack against worldwide Jewish communities might take place as revenge. Mossad also assisted in Operation Moses, the evacuation of Ethiopian Jews to Israel from a famine-ridden region of Sudan in 1984, also maintaining a relationship with the Ethiopian government.
In 1960, Mossad discovered that the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was in Argentina. A team of five Mossad agents led by Shimon Ben Aharon slipped into Argentina and, through surveillance, confirmed that he had been living there under the name of Ricardo Klement. He was abducted on May 11, 1960 and taken to a hideout. He was subsequently smuggled to Israel, where he was tried and executed. Argentina protested what it considered as a violation of its sovereignty, and the United Nations Security Council noted that "repetition of acts such as [this] would involve a breach of the principles upon which international order is founded, creating an atmosphere of insecurity and distrust incompatible with the preservation of peace" while also acknowledging that "Eichmann should be brought to appropriate justice for the crimes of which he is accused" and that "this resolution should in no way be interpreted as condoning the odious crimes of which Eichmann is accused."[b] Mossad abandoned a second operation, intended to capture Josef Mengele.
During the 1990s, Mossad discovered a Hezbollah agent[who?] operating within the United States in order to procure materials needed to manufacture IEDs and other weapons. In a joint operation with U.S. intelligence, the agent was kept under surveillance in hopes that he would betray more Hezbollah operatives, but was eventually arrested.
Mossad informed the FBI and CIA in August 2001 that, based on its intelligence, as many as 200 terrorists were slipping into the United States and planning "a major assault on the United States." The Israeli intelligence agency cautioned the FBI that it had picked up indications of a "large-scale target" in the United States and that Americans would be "very vulnerable." However, "It is not known whether U.S. authorities thought the warning to be credible, or whether it contained enough details to allow counter-terrorism teams to come up with a response." A month later, terrorists struck at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the largest terrorist attack in history.
Mossad assassinated Latvian Nazi collaborator Herberts Cukurs in 1965.
Central and West Asia
A report published on the Israeli military's official website in February, 2014 said that Middle Eastern countries that cooperate with Israel (Mossad) are the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The report claimed that Bahrain has been providing Israel with intelligence on Iranian and Palestinian organizations. The report also highlights the growing secret cooperation with Saudi Arabia, claiming that Mossad has been in direct contact with Saudi intelligence about Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1978–79, SAVAK (Organization of National Security and Information), the Iranian secret police and intelligence service was created under the guidance of United States and Israeli intelligence officers in 1957. After security relations between the United States and Iran grew more distant in the early 1960s which led the CIA training team to leave Iran, Mossad became increasingly active in Iran, "training SAVAK personnel and carrying out a broad variety of joint operations with SAVAK."
A US intelligence official told The Washington Post that Israel orchestrated the defection of Iranian general Ali Reza Askari on February 7, 2007. This has been denied by Israeli spokesman Mark Regev. The Sunday Times reported that Askari had been a Mossad asset since 2003, and left only when his cover was about to be blown.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has accused Mossad of assassination plots and killings of Iranian physicists in 2010. Reports have noted that such information has not yet been evidently proven. Iranian state TV broadcast a stated confession from Majid Jamali-Fashi, an Iranian man who claimed to have visited Israel to be trained by Mossad.
Le Figaro claimed that Mossad was possibly behind a blast at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's Imam Ali military base, on October 12, 2011. The explosion at the base killed 18 and injured 10 others. Among the dead was also general Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who served as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ missile program and was a crucial figure in building Iran's long-range missile program. The base is believed to store long-range missiles, including the Shahab-3, and also has hangars. It is one of Iran's most secure military bases.
Mossad has been accused of assassinating Masoud Alimohammadi, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan; scientists involved in the Iranian nuclear program. It is also suspected of being behind the attempted assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi. Meir Dagan, who served as Director of Mossad from 2002 until 2009, while not taking credit for the assassinations, praised them in an interview with a journalist, saying "the removal of important brains" from the Iranian nuclear project had achieved so-called "white defections," frightening other Iranian nuclear scientists into requesting that they be transferred to civilian projects.
In early February 2012, Mossad director Tamir Pardo met with U.S. national security officials in Washington, D.C. to sound them out on possible American reactions in the event Israel attacked Iran over the objections of the United States.
In 2018 the Mossad infiltrated into Iran's secret nuclear archive in Tehran and smuggled over 100,000 documents and computer files to Israel. The documents and files showed that the Iranian AMAD Project aimed to develop nuclear weapons. Israel shared the information with its allies, including European countries and the United States.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2017)
Assistance in the defection and rescuing of the family of Munir Redfa, an Iraqi pilot who defected and flew his MiG-21 to Israel in 1966: "Operation Diamond". Redfa's entire family was also successfully smuggled from Iraq to Israel. Previously unknown information about the MiG-21 was subsequently shared with the United States.
Operation Sphinx – Between 1978 and 1981, obtained highly sensitive information about Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor by recruiting an Iraqi nuclear scientist in France.
Operation Bramble Bush II – In the 1990s, Mossad began scouting locations in Iraq where Saddam Hussein could be ambushed by Sayeret Matkal commandos inserted into Iraq from Jordan. The mission was called off due to Operation Desert Fox and the ongoing Israeli-Arab peace process.
In what is thought to have been a reprisal action for a Hamas suicide-bombing in Jerusalem on July 30, 1997 that killed 16 Israelis, Benjamin Netanyahu authorised an operation against Khaled Mashal, the Hamas representative in Jordan. On September 25, 1997, Mashal was injected in the ear with a toxin (thought to have been a derivative of the synthetic opiate Fentanyl called Levofentanyl). Jordanian authorities apprehended two Mossad agents posing as Canadian tourists and trapped a further six in the Israeli embassy. In exchange for their release, an Israeli physician had to fly to Amman and deliver an antidote for Mashal. The fallout from the failed killing eventually led to the release of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement, and scores of Hamas prisoners. Netanyahu flew into Amman on September 29 to apologize personally to King Hussein, but he was instead met by the King's brother, Crown Prince Hassan.
The sending of letter bombs to PFLP member Bassam Abu Sharif in 1972. Sharif was severely wounded, but survived.
The killing of the Palestinian writer and leading PFLP member Ghassan Kanafani by a car bomb in 1972.
The provision of intelligence and operational assistance in the 1973 Operation Spring of Youth special forces raid on Beirut.
The targeted killing of Ali Hassan Salameh, the leader of Black September, on January 22, 1979 in Beirut by a car bomb.
Providing intelligence for the killing of Abbas al-Musawi, secretary general of Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon in 1992.
Allegedly killed Jihad Ahmed Jibril, the leader of the military wing of the PFLP-GC, in Beirut in 2002.
Allegedly killed Ali Hussein Saleh, member of Hezbollah, in Beirut in 2003.
Allegedly killed Ghaleb Awwali, a senior Hezbollah official, in Beirut in 2004.
Allegedly killed Mahmoud al-Majzoub, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in Sidon in 2006.
Mossad was suspected of establishing a large spy network in Lebanon, recruited from Druze, Christian, and Sunni Muslim communities, and officials in the Lebanese government, to spy on Hezbollah and its Iranian Revolutionary Guard advisors. Some have allegedly been active since the 1982 Lebanon War. In 2009, Lebanese Security Services supported by Hezbollah's intelligence unit, and working in collaboration with Syria, Iran, and possibly Russia, launched a major crackdown which resulted in the arrests of around 100 alleged spies "working for Israel". Previously, in 2006, the Lebanese army uncovered a network that allegedly assassinated several Lebanese and Palestinian leaders on behalf of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
Caesarea tried for many years to assassinate Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, a job later tasked by Israel's Minister of Defense Ariel Sharon to a military special ops task force code named "Salt Fish," later renamed "Operation Goldfish," specially created for the job of assassinating Arafat, with Ronan Bergman suggesting that Israel used radiation poisoning to kill Yasser Arafat.
Eli Cohen infiltrated the highest echelons of the Syrian government, was a close friend of the Syrian President, and was considered for the post of Minister of Defense. He gave his handlers a complete plan of the Syrian defenses on the Golan Heights, the Syrian Armed Forces order of battle, and a complete list of the Syrian military's weapons inventory. He also ordered the planting of trees by every Syrian fortified position under the pretext of shading soldiers, but the trees actually served as targeting markers for the Israel Defense Forces. He was discovered by Syrian and Soviet intelligence, tried in secret, and executed publicly in 1965. His information played a crucial role during the Six-Day War.
On 1 April 1978, 12 Syrian military and secret service personnel were killed by a booby trapped sophisticated Israeli listening device planted on the main telephone cable between Damascus and Jordan.
The alleged death of General Anatoly Kuntsevich, who from the late 1990s was suspected of aiding the Syrians in the manufacture of VX nerve-gas, in exchange for which he was paid huge amounts of money by the Syrian government. On April 3, 2002, Kuntsevich died mysteriously during a plane journey, amid allegations that Mossad was responsible.
The alleged killing of Izz El-Deen Sheikh Khalil, a senior member of the military wing of Hamas, in an automobile booby trap in September 2004 in Damascus.
The uncovering of a nuclear reactor being built in Syria as a result of surveillance by Mossad of Syrian officials working under the command of Muhammad Suleiman. As a result, the Syrian nuclear reactor was destroyed by Israeli Air Forces in September 2007 (see Operation Orchard).
The alleged killing of Muhammad Suleiman, head of Syria's nuclear program, in 2008. Suleiman was on a beach in Tartus and was killed by a sniper firing from a boat.
On July 25, 2007, the al-Safir chemical weapons depot exploded, killing 15 Syrian personnel as well as 10 Iranian engineers. Syrian investigations blamed Israeli sabotage.
The alleged killing of Imad Mughniyah, a senior leader of Hezbollah complicit in the 1983 United States embassy bombing, with an exploding headrest in Damascus in 2008.
The decomposed body of Yuri Ivanov, the deputy head of the GRU, Russia's foreign military intelligence service, was found on a Turkish beach in early August 2010, amid allegations that Mossad may have played a role. He had disappeared while staying near Latakia, Syria.
Mossad was accused of being behind the assassination of Aziz Asbar, a senior Syrian scientist responsible for developing long-range rockets and chemical weapons programs. He was killed in a car bomb in Masyaf on August 5, 2018.
United Arab Emirates
Mossad is suspected of killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander, in January 2010 at Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The team which carried out the killing is estimated, on the basis of CCTV and other evidence, to have consisted of at least 26 agents traveling on bogus passports. The operatives entered al-Mabhouh's hotel room, where Mabhouh was subjected to electric shocks and interrogated. The door to his room was reported to have been locked from the inside. Although the UAE police and Hamas have declared Israel responsible for the killing, no direct evidence linking Mossad to the crime has been found. The agents' bogus passports included six British passports, cloned from those of real British nationals resident in Israel and suspected by Dubai, five Irish passports, apparently forged from those of living individuals, forged Australian passports that raised fears of reprisal against innocent victims of identity theft, a genuine German passport and a false French passport. Emirati police say they have fingerprint and DNA evidence of some of the attackers, as well as retinal scans of 11 suspects recorded at Dubai airport. Dubai's police chief has said "I am now completely sure that it was Mossad," adding: "I have presented the (Dubai) prosecutor with a request for the arrest of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the head of Mossad," for the murder.
South and East Asia
A Rediff story in 2003 revealed that Mossad had clandestine links with the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. When R&AW was founded in September 1968 by Rameshwar Nath Kao, he was advised by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to cultivate links with Mossad. This was suggested as a countermeasure to military links between that of Pakistan and China, as well as with North Korea. Israel was also concerned that Pakistani army officers were training Libyans and Iranians in handling Chinese and North Korean military equipment.
Pakistan believed intelligence relations between India and Israel threatened Pakistani security. When young Israeli tourists began visiting the Kashmir valley in the early 1990s, Pakistan suspected they were disguised Israeli army officers there to help Indian security forces with anti-terrorism operations. Israeli tourists were attacked, with one slain and another kidnapped. Pressure from the Kashmiri Muslim diaspora in the United States led to his release. Kashmiri Muslims feared that the attacks could isolate the American Jewish community, and result in them lobbying the US government against Kashmiri separatist groups.
India Today reported that the two flats were RAW safe houses used as operational fronts for Mossad agents and housed Mossad's station chief between 1989 and 1992. RAW had reportedly decided to have closer ties to Mossad, and the subsequent secret operation was approved by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. India Today cites "RAW insiders" as saying that RAW agents hid a Mossad agent holding an Argentine passport and exchanged intelligence and expertise in operations, including negotiations for the release of an Israeli tourist by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militants in June 1991. When asked about the case Verma refused to speak about the companies, but claimed his relationship with them was purely professional. Raman stated, "Sometimes, spy agencies float companies for operational reasons. All I can say is that everything was done with government approval. Files were cleared by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his cabinet secretary. Balachandran stated, "It is true that we did a large number of operations but at every stage, we kept the Cabinet Secretariat and the prime minister in the loop."
In November 2015, The Times of India reported that agents from Mossad and MI5 were protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Turkey. Modi was on a state visit to the United Kingdom and was scheduled to attend the 2015 G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The paper reported that the agents had been called in to provide additional cover to Modi's security detail, composed of India's Special Protection Group and secret agents from RAW and IB, in wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.
In 2018, Hamas and the family of Malaysian-based Hamas engineer and university lecturer Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh have accused the Mossad of assassinating him. In April 2018, al-Batsh was shot dead by two men on a motorbike in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi described the suspects as Europeans with links to an unidentified foreign intelligence agency. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied that Mossad was involved in al-Batsh's assassination and suggested that his death was the result of an internal Palestinian dispute. Hamas also issued a statement describing Batsh as a "martyr" and "distinguished scientist who has widely contributed to the energy sector."
In October 2022, the New Straits Times and Al Jazeera Arabic reported that several Malaysian Mossad operatives had attempted to kidnap two Palestinian computer experts in Kuala Lumpur in late September 2022. Though they managed to kidnap one of the men, the second escaped and alerted Malaysian Police. The operatives allegedly assisted Mossad officials via video call in interrogating and beating their captive, who was questioned about the computer programming and software capabilities of Hamas and its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. With the aid of the second Palestinian man, Malaysian Police were able to track down the car registration plates to a house where the alleged kidnappers were arrested and the man was freed. According to Al Jazeera Arabic, a "well-informed Malaysian source" claimed that an investigation had uncovered an undercover 11-member Mossad cell in Malaysia that was involved in spying on important sites including airports, government electronic companies, and tracking down Palestinian activists. This Mossad cell allegedly consisted of Malaysian nationals who received training in Europe.
Mossad may have been involved in the 2004 explosion of Ryongchon, where several Syrian nuclear scientists working on the Syrian and Iranian nuclear-weapons programs were killed and a train carrying fissionable material was destroyed.
In a September 2003 news article, it was alleged by Rediff News that General Pervez Musharaf, the then-President of Pakistan, decided to establish a clandestine relationship between Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Mossad via officers of the two services posted at their embassies in Washington, DC.
Mossad had helped both Sri Lanka and the Eelam. Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky claimed that Mossad trained both the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE while keeping the two separated. Ravi Jayawardene, head of the STF, had toured Israel in 1984 and took inspiration from the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories to form armed Sinhalese settlements in strategic border areas of the Tamil-dominant Northern and Eastern provinces.
In 1954, after Mossad received intelligence that an Israeli officer who had access to classified military technologies, Major Alexander Israel, had approached Egyptian officials in Europe and offered to sell Israeli military secrets and documents, a team of Mossad and Shin Bet officers was quickly sent to Europe to locate him and abduct him, and located him in Vienna. The mission was code-named Operation Bren. A female agent managed to lure him to a meeting through a honey trap operation, and he was subsequently kidnapped, sedated, and flown to Israel aboard a waiting Israeli military plane. However, the plane had to make several refueling stops, and he was given an additional dose of sedatives each time, which ultimately caused him to overdose, killing him. Upon arrival in Israel, after it was discovered that he was dead, he was given a burial at sea, and the case remained highly classified for decades.
Mossad gathered information on Austrian politician Jörg Haider using a mole.
Mossad is alleged to be responsible for the killing of Canadian engineer and ballistics expert Gerald Bull on March 22, 1990. He was shot multiple times in the head outside his Brussels apartment. Bull was at the time working for Iraq on the Project Babylon supergun. Others, including Bull's son, believe that Mossad is taking credit for an act they did not commit to scare off others who may try to help enemy regimes. The alternative theory is that Bull was killed by the CIA. Iraq and Iran are also candidates for suspicion.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Assisted in air and overland evacuations of Bosnian Jews from war-torn Sarajevo to Israel in 1992 and 1993.
The killing of Hussein Al Bashir in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1973 in relation to the Munich massacre.
Mossad allegedly assisted Morocco's domestic security service in the disappearance of dissident politician Mehdi Ben Barka in 1965.
Cherbourg Project – Operation Noa, the 1969 smuggling of five Sa'ar 3-class missile boats out of Cherbourg.
The killing of Mahmoud Hamshari, coordinator of the Munich massacre, with an exploding telephone in his Paris apartment in 1972.
The killing of Basil Al-Kubaissi, who was involved in the Munich massacre, in Paris in 1973.
The killing of Mohammad Boudia, member of the PFLP, in Paris in 1973.
On April 5, 1979, Mossad agents are believed to have triggered an explosion which destroyed 60 percent of components being built in Toulouse for an Iraqi reactor. Although an environmental organization, Groupe des écologistes français, unheard of before this incident, claimed credit for the blast, most French officials discount the claim. The reactor itself was subsequently destroyed by an Israeli air strike in 1981.
The alleged killing of Zuheir Mohsen, a pro-Syrian member of the PLO, in 1979.
The killing of Yehia El-Mashad, the head of the Iraq nuclear weapons program, in 1980.
The alleged killing of Atef Bseiso, a top intelligence officer of the PLO, in Paris in 1992. French police believe that a team of assassins followed Atef Bseiso from Berlin, where that first team connected with another team to close in on him in front of a Left Bank hotel, where he received three head-shots at point blank range.
Operation Plumbat (1968) was an operation by Lekem-Mossad to further Israel's nuclear program. The German freighter "Scheersberg A" disappeared on its way from Antwerp to Genoa along with its cargo of 200 tons of yellowcake, after supposedly being transferred to an Israeli ship.
The sending of letter bombs during the Operation Wrath of God campaign. Some of these attacks were not fatal. Their purpose might not have been to kill the receiver. A Mossad letter bomb led to fugitive Nazi war-criminal Alois Brunner's losing four fingers from his right hand in 1980.
The alleged targeted killing of Wadie Haddad, using poisoned chocolate. Haddad died on 28 March 1978, in the German Democratic Republic supposedly from leukemia. According to the book Striking Back, published by Aharon Klein in 2006, Haddad was eliminated by Mossad, which had sent the chocolate-loving Haddad Belgian chocolates coated with a slow-acting and undetectable poison which caused him to die several months later. "It took him a few long months to die", Klein said in the book.
Mossad discovered that Hezbollah had recruited a German national named Steven Smyrek, and that he was travelling to Israel. In an operation conducted by Mossad, the CIA, the German Internal Security agency Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), and the Israeli Internal Security agency Shin Bet, Smyrek was kept under constant surveillance, and arrested as soon as he landed in Israel.
The killing of Zaiad Muchasi, Fatah representative to Cyprus, by an explosion in his Athens hotel room in 1973.
The assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh – a senior Hamas military commander – in Dubai, 2010, was suspected to be the work of Mossad, and there were eight Irish passports (six of which were used) fraudulently obtained by the Israeli embassy in Dublin, Ireland for use by alleged Mossad agents in the operation. The Irish government was angered over the use of Irish passports, summoned the Israeli ambassador for an explanation and expelled the Israeli diplomat deemed responsible from Dublin, following an investigation. One of the passports was registered to a residence on Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, on the same road as the Israeli embassy. The house was empty when later searched, but there was suspicion by Irish authorities it had been used as a Mossad safe house in the past. Mossad is reported to have a working relationship with the Irish military intelligence service and has previously tipped the Irish authorities off about arms shipments from the Middle East to Ireland for use by dissident republican militants, resulting in their interception and arrests.
The killing of Wael Zwaiter, thought to be a member of Black September.
In 1986, Mossad used an undercover agent to lure Mordechai Vanunu from the United Kingdom to Italy in a honey trap style operation where he was abducted and returned to Israel where he was tried and found guilty of treason because of his role in exposing Israel's nuclear weapons programme.
The killing of Fathi Shiqaqi. Shiqaqi, a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, was shot several times in the head in 1995 in front of the Diplomat Hotel in Sliema, Malta.
On July 21, 1973, Ahmed Bouchiki, a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, was killed by Mossad agents. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September, the Palestinian group responsible for the Munich massacre, who had been given shelter in Norway. Mossad agents had used fake Canadian passports, which angered the Canadian government. Six Mossad agents were arrested, and the incident came to be known as the Lillehammer affair. Israel subsequently paid compensation to Bouchiki's family.
Israel provided weapons to the Serbs during the Bosnian War, possibly due to the pro-Serbian bias of the government of the time, or possibly in exchange for the immigration of the Sarajevo Jewish community to Israel. The Mossad allegedly was responsible for providing Serbian groups with arms.
According to secret CIA and US State Department documents discovered by the Iranian students who took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979:
In Switzerland the Israelis have an Embassy in Bern and a Consulate-General in Zürich which provide cover for Collection Department officers involved in unilateral operations. These Israeli diplomatic installations also maintain close relations with the Swiss on a local level in regard to overt functions such as physical security for Israeli official and commercial installations in the country and the protection of staff members and visiting Israelis. There is also close collaboration between the Israelis and Swiss on scientific and technical matters pertaining to intelligence and security operations. Swiss officials have made frequent trips to Israel. There is a continual flow of Israelis to and through Switzerland. These visits, however, are usually arranged through the Political Action and Liaison regional controller at the Embassy in Paris directly with the Swiss and not through the officials in the Israeli Embassy in Bern, although the latter are kept informed.
In February 1998, five Mossad agents were caught wiretapping the home of a Hezbollah agent in a Bern suburb. Four agents were freed, but the fifth was tried, found guilty, sentenced to one year in prison, and following his release was banned from entering Switzerland for five years.
Mossad was involved in outreach to refuseniks in the Soviet Union during the crackdown on Soviet Jews in the period between the 1950s and the 1980s. Mossad helped establish contact with Refuseniks in the USSR, and helped them acquire Jewish religious items, banned by the Soviet government, in addition to passing communications into and out of the USSR. Many rabbinical students from Western countries travelled to the Soviet Union as part of this program in order to establish and maintain contact with refuseniks.
In 1984 Mossad agents were caught attempting to kidnap Nigerian politician Umaru Dikko from London. On 4 July 1984 customs officials at Stanstead airport discovered Dikko in a crate about to be flown to Nigeria. Agents Alexander Barak, Felix Abithol and anesthetist Dr Levi-Arie Shapiro were given prison sentences of between ten and fourteen years.
In 1986, a bag containing eight forged British passports was discovered in a telephone booth in West Germany. The passports had been the work of Mossad and were intended for the Israeli Embassy in London for use in covert operations. The British government, furious, demanded that Israel give a promise not forge its passports again, which was obtained.
On 30 September 1986 Mossad agents succeeded in luring Mordechai Vanunu from London to Rome where he was kidnapped back to Israel and tried for treason. Vanunu had been hosted in London by the Sunday Times whilst revealing details of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme.
On 15 June 1988, following the trial and conviction of a Palestinian post-graduate student studying at Hull University, Ismail Sowan, two Mossad agents were expelled from the UK. Sowan was found in possession of a large arms cache and was sentenced to eleven years in prison. During his trial it had been revealed that he had employed by Mossad for ten years. The Mossad agents, Arie Regev and Jacob Barad, were Sowan’s controllers. They had failed to inform MI6 of Sowan’s activities and that they were aware that a Palestinian, Abd al-Rahim Mustapha, believed to be involved in the assassination of Naji al-Ali had entered the country illegally. The Mossad station in UK remained closed until the 1994 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London.
In February 2011, a Palestinian engineer, Dirar Abu Seesi, was allegedly pulled off a train by Mossad agents en route to the capital Kyiv from Kharkiv. He had been planning to apply for Ukrainian citizenship, and reappeared in an Israeli jail only three weeks after the incident.
In July 2004, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident in which two Australia-based Israelis, Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara, who were allegedly working for Mossad, attempted to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports by claiming the identity of a severely disabled man. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom later apologized to New Zealand for their actions. New Zealand cancelled several other passports believed to have been obtained by Israeli agents. Both Kelman and Cara served half of their six-month sentences and, upon release, were deported to Israel. Two others, an Israeli, Ze'ev Barkan, and a New Zealander, David Reznick, are believed to have been the third and fourth men involved in the passport affair but they both managed to leave New Zealand before being apprehended.
- Films (including made-for-television movies)
- The films Sword of Gideon (1986) and Munich (2005), depict Mossad agents' retaliation against Black September following the events of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
- The Impossible Spy (1987) is a TV movie about the life of top Mossad spy Eli Cohen.
- In the film Swordfish (2001), the lead character Gabriel Shear (played by John Travolta) is believed to be a Mossad agent.
- The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) is loosely based on the events of Operation Moses and Operation Joshua (jointly referred to as Operation Brothers), in which Ethiopian Jews were covertly moved from refugee camps in Sudan to Israel.
- The House on Garibaldi Street (1979) and Operation Finale (2018) movies about the Mossad exfiltration of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann from Argentina
(Alphabetical by author's surname)
- In Jeffrey Archer's novel Honour Among Thieves (1993), the lead female protagonist is a Mossad agent.
- In book 4 of Mark Greaney's Gray Man series, Dead Eye, Mossad and the CIA partner to capture the world's most feared and lethal rogue former black ops agent Courtland Gentry.
- Daniel Silva's spy novel series is centered on fictional Mossad agent and assassin, Gabriel Allon. The term "Mossad" is never used in the novels, but the protagonist is described as working for Israel's intelligence service (which the characters refer to simply as "the Office").
- John Le Carre's novel The Little Drummer Girl (1983) describes a fictional Mossad operation against Palestinian terrorists.
- Frederick Forsyth's novel The Fist of God describes the inner workings of various Mossad divisions.
(Alphabetical by show)
- Tehran (2020–present) is a spy thriller television series about a Mossad agent working undercover in Iran.
- In the TV series The Blacklist (2013–present), Mossad agent Samar Navabi (played by Mozhan Marnò) is one of the side characters.
- In the TV series Covert Affairs (2010–2015), Mossad agent Eyal Lavin is a recurring character.
- Since the NCIS season 3 episode "Kill Ari (Part 1)" (2005), Mossad has played an instrumental part. Mossad's presence includes one of the main characters, Agent Ziva David, who is a former Mossad Agent. She originally filled the position of Mossad liaison to NCIS, until the end of season 7, when she became a full-time NCIS agent. Her father, Eli David, was the director of Mossad, until the season 10 episode "Shabbat Shalom", when he was killed. Many other characters have been included in the show from Mossad, including Michael Rivkin and Ari Haswari. Some episodes of the show have taken place in Israel.
- The Spy (2019) is a web television miniseries on the life of top Mossad spy Eli Cohen.
- Duvdevan Unit – Israel's undercover strike unit
- List of assassinations of scientists attributed to Mossad
- List of Israeli assassinations
- Special Activities Division
- The Spy Machine (1998), a British documentary special about the work of the Mossad
- Unit 8200, Israeli Intelligence Corps SIGINT and cyber unit
- Yamam, Israel's elite Border Police SWAT Unit
- ^ Hebrew: הַמּוֹסָד, romanized: ha-Mosád, IPA: [hamoˈsad]; Arabic: الموساد, romanized: al-Mōsād, IPA: [almoːˈsaːd]; lit. 'the Institute', short for ha-Mosád le-Modiʿín u-le-Tafkidím Meyuḥadím (Hebrew: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים), meaning 'Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations'.
- ^ Argentina claimed that the "illicit and clandestine transfer of Eichmann from Argentine territory constitutes a flagrant violation of the Argentine State's right of sovereignty[.]" In Eichmann's case, the most salient feature from the perspective of international law was the fact of Israeli law enforcement action in another state's territory without consent; the human element includes the dramatic circumstances of the capture by Mossad agents and the ensuing custody and transfer to Israel[.] At its most obvious level this means that the exercise of enforcement jurisdiction within the territory of another state will be a violation of territorial integrity. For example, after Adolf Eichmann [...] was abducted from Argentina by a group of Israelis, now known to be from the Israeli Secret Service (Mossad), the Argentine Government lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council [...] It is however unclear whether as a matter of international law the obligation to make reparation for a violation of territorial sovereignty such as that involved in the Eichmann case includes an obligation to return the offender.
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