Mike Harari, the longtime head of operations for the Mossad — and founder of the ultra-secretive and effective Kidon unit that specialized in innovative assassinations — has died at age 87 in Israel.
Below please read what we posted about him, this past April 6:
Mike Harari has decided to talk – and the longtime commander of Mossad operations is confirming many of the episodes detailed in our book, Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars.
The long-retired and long-silent head of the operations unit named Caesarea, Harari is now confirming that he led the assassination campaign against Palestinian terrorists – mostly in Europe – after the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
It had been believed that Mossad gunmen and bombers killed 5 or 6 Palestinian targets, before a case of mistaken identity – when the wrong man was killed in Norway – ended the string of assassinations in 1973. A new biography of Harari, published in Hebrew with his full cooperation, says the number was twelve.
Harari is now 87 years old and, to a degree, seems to have decided to set the record straight while he still can do so.
As is stated in our book, Spies Against Armageddon, Caesarea operatives bristle at the notion that the Mossad is considered a kind of Murder: Incorporated. Killing Israel’s enemies is but a small part of what the famed foreign intelligence agency does.
Harari is now revealed to have a Beretta pistol with a silencer framed at home – the very weapon used to kill the first Palestinian target in the post-Munich campaign.
But when he gave the Mossad some valuable advice about ten years ago – stepping out of retirement (as noted when he granted an interview to the newspaper Yediot Ahronot) – did that mission involve assassination? Yes. Israel’s spy agency was about to embark on a series of killings of Iranian nuclear scientists, and Mossad veterans with relevant experience were consulted.
Delving farther back into Mossad history, Harari’s new clarifications echo and amplify much of what we describe in Spies Against Armageddon and in our previous books. He does indeed dismiss as rubbish the portrayal of the post-Olympics killings in Steven Spielberg’s movie, Munich.
Harari also says that the code names publicized by journalists for the series of assassinations – Gideon’s Sword and Wrath of God – are pure inventions. The codes for the individual missions actually were names of Mossad’s female operatives.
As Spies Against Armageddon declares, there was no formal “Committee X” to consider death warrants for terrorists – despite reports by other writers over the years. Rather than a tribunal, there was a list of targets composed by the Caesarea unit – with the help of the military intelligence agency, Aman. Some of them were involved in the planning of the Olympics massacre, and others were just activists in or key helpers of the PLO and its shadowy Black September.
As for the mistake that left the wrong man dead in Lillehammer, Norway – and several Mossad operatives in a Norwegian jail – Harari now offers new details. He says 7 Israelis – a majority of the assassination squad sent to Scandinavia –misidentified the victim. Before the shooting, they declared certainty that the man was Ali Hassan Salameh – a crafty and dangerous Palestinian militant was very close to PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
Other members of the Mossad team, referring to the same photo of Salameh, felt that the man they had located was not the PLO man they were seeking.
Harari’s mistake was going with the majority.
He reveals that he and his boss – then-Mossad chief Zvi Zamir – submitted their resignation, but Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to accept it.