Like the 1972 Munich Olympics: Hunting Down Hamas Killers in a Frenzied Quest for Revenge

By Andrea Tucci,

Karim Khan, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on charges of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” He has made similar requests for Hamas political leaders Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh, and the head of Hamas’s military wing, Mohammed Deif, for crimes committed during the October 7th attack. Meanwhile, Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, is reportedly preparing to target Hamas leaders worldwide.
With orders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s top spy agencies are working on plans to hunt down Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Türkiye and Qatar.
The assassination campaign would be an extension of Israel’s decades-long clandestine operations.
Israel has hunted Palestinian militants in Beirut while dressed as women, and killed a Hamas leader in Dubai, while dressed as tourists. Israel has used a car bomb to kill a Hezbollah leader in Syria and a remote-controlled rifle to kill a nuclear scientist in Iran, according to former Israeli officials.
The new plans would mark a second chance for Netanyahu, who ordered a botched 1997 attempt to poison Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Jordan.
To the consternation of some Israeli officials who want the latest plans to remain a mystery, Netanyahu telegraphed his intentions in a nationwide speech “I have instructed the Mossad to act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are”
In the same address, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said “Hamas leaders are living on “borrowed time and they are marked for death”.

Photo: Mossad and Hamas logos

While Israel typically tries to keep such efforts secret, the nation’s leaders have shown few reservations about revealing their intentions to hunt down everyone responsible for the October 7 attack, just like they did to those responsible for the Palestinian attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
 The future Israeli plans are to ensure that Hamas can never again pose a serious threat to Israel.

Targeted killings abroad violate international law and run the risk of blowback from nations in which Israel operates without “their permission,” some Israeli officials wanted to launch an immediate campaign to kill Meshaal and other Hamas leaders living abroad.
Israel is known to have carried out any targeted-killing operations in Qatar, when this country has become the central hub for the hostage talks, with the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, meeting CIA chief William Burns in Doha were earlier this month for several discussions.
Doha has helped in the past to secure the release of dozens of Israeli hostages held by Gaza militants in return for the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad director, said:
“Killing Hamas leaders won’t eliminate the threat. Instead, potential to inflame the group’s followers and accelerate of even worse threats,” .
“Pursuing Hamas on a worldwide scale and trying to systematically remove all its leaders from this world is a desire to exact revenge, not a desire to achieve a strategic aim,”
However, Amos Yadlin, a retired Israeli general who once led the military’s intelligence agency, said the campaign “is what justice demands.”
“All the Hamas leaders, all those who participated in the attack, who planned the attack, who ordered the attack, should be brought to justice or eliminated,” Yadlin said. “It’s the right policy.”.
In 1997, Netanyahu, then serving his first term as prime minister, ordered Israeli spies to kill Meshaal, a Hamas founder who was then living in Jordan. One Israeli assassin sprayed a toxin into Meshaal’s ear but he was captured along with another member of the team before they could escape.
Meshaal fell into a coma, and Jordan threatened to terminate its peace treaty with Israel. Then-President Bill Clinton pressed Netanyahu to end the crisis by sending his Mossad chief to Amman with the antidote that saved Meshaal’s life.

Israel then secured the freedom of its operatives in Jordan by agreeing to release Yassin, the Hamas spiritual leader, and 70 other Palestinian prisoners.
In 2010, a team of Israeli operatives using forged European passports flew to Dubai, where they masqueraded as tourists while awaiting the arrival of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founder of the Hamas military wing. Surveillance video later captured members of the Israeli team, dressed as tennis players, following Mabhouh to his room, where they paralyzed and then suffocated the Hamas leader.
While it initially appeared that Mabhouh had died of natural causes, Dubai officials eventually identified the hit team and accused Israel of the assassination.
It took years to repair the damage to Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates.

Cover Photo: On September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village in Munich and  killed 11 Israeli athletes 

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