Yahya El Mashad

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Yahya El Mashad
Born(1932-01-11)January 11, 1932
Died(1980-06-14)June 14, 1980 (48 years old)
OccupationNuclear scientist

Yahya El Mashad (Arabic: يحيى المشد‎; 1932 – 14 June 1980) was an Egyptian nuclear scientist who headed the Iraqi nuclear program. He was killed in a Paris hotel room in June 1980, in an operation generally attributed to the Mossad.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

El Mashad was born in Benha, Egypt in 1932.[4] He was educated in Tanta and graduated from the Electrical Engineering Department in the Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University in 1952.[4] Although he traveled to London to gain his doctorate in 1956, due to the Suez Crisis he eventually traveled to Moscow to complete his studies. He spent about six years in the Soviet Union before returning to Egypt in 1964 to accept a professorship in nuclear engineering at Alexandria University.[4]


El Mashad joined the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority and worked as a nuclear engineer until the Egyptian nuclear program was frozen following the Six-Day War in 1967.[4] He then travelled to Iraq where he led the Iraqi nuclear program,[5] and supervised Iraq's nuclear co-operation agreement with France.[6] In 1980, he refused to receive a uranium shipment as it did not meet the agreed specifications, after which the French insisted on his presence in Paris to receive the shipment.[4]


On 14 June 1980, El Mashad was found dead in his room at the Le Méridien hotel in Paris.[7] Some sources state that he was found with his throat cut and multiple stab wounds, others that he had been bludgeoned to death.[8][9][10] Weeks later, a Parisian prostitute, alleged to have a connection to Mashad's death, was herself killed by a hit and run automobile. [11] French authorities suspected the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, but had no proof.[12] Israel issued statements immediately after El Mashad's death, claiming that the Iraqi nuclear program had been retarded, but denied involvement.[13][14]


  1. ^ Bergman, Ronen (13 December 2010). "Killing the Killers". Newsweek.
  2. ^ Hider, James (20 September 2008). "The secret life of Tzipi Livni". The Times. London.
  3. ^ "Attack — and Fallout: Israel and Iraq". Time. 22 June 1981.
  4. ^ a b c d e "ﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵ ﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵﻡ؟ﺵ". Egyptian Figures (in Arabic). Egypt: State Information Service. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  5. ^ Druks, Herbert (2001). The uncertain alliance: the US and Israel from Kennedy to the peace process. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-313-31424-7.
  6. ^ Perera, Judith (1983). Can the Arabs win the nuclear race with Israel?. Arab Research Centre. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-907233-13-8.
  7. ^ Bar-Joseph, Handel & Perlmutter 2003, p. xxxvii.
  8. ^ Samuels, David (8 October 2010). "Q&A: Tzipi Livni The Kadima leader says Israel is not the safest place in the world for Jews". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  9. ^ Weissman, Stephen ‘Steve’; Krosney, Herbert (1981), The Islamic bomb: the nuclear threat to Israel and the Middle East, New York, NY: Times Books, p. 275, ISBN 978-0-8129-0978-4.
  10. ^ Bar-Joseph, Handel & Perlmutter 2003, p. 56.
  11. ^ www.theatlantic.com
  12. ^ Grossman, Mark (1995). Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-87436-684-6.
  13. ^ Styan, David. France and Iraq: Oil, Arms and French Policy Making in the Middle East. I.B. Tauris, 2006. p. 134.
  14. ^ Moore, Dan McKinnon (1988). Bullseye one ([Rev.]Berkley ed.). New York: Berkley. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-425-11259-5.


  • Bar-Joseph, Uri; Handel, Michael; Perlmutter, Amos (2003) [1982], Two minutes over Baghdad (2nd ed.), London [u.a.]: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-7146-5422-5

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