Wednesday, November 14

Mossad ‘tried to kill’ Saddam Hussein using ‘exploding book’


Israeli intelligence tried 

unsuccessfully to kill Iraqi leader 

Saddam Hussein in the 1970s 

using a  bomb disguised as a 

book. This brevelation is included in a new  documentary film, 

which was aired  on Monday evening on Israel’s  Channel 1 

television. The  documentary, entitled Sealed Lips, focuses on the 

life and  intelligence exploits of Yitzhak Hofi. Known informally as 

“Khaka”, Hofi was the fifth Director of the Mossad, Israel’s 

foremost covert-action intelligence agency, which he led form 1974 

to 1982.  Aside from Hofi, who is still living in Israel, aged 85, the 

film includes interviews with five other former Directors of the

 Mossad, as well as with some of the agency’s best-known covert-

action operatives. One of them is Brigadier General (ret.) Tzuri 

Sagi, said to have been the mastermind behind the plan to kill 

Hussein, who had assumed power in Iraq following a coup in 1968. 

According to the documentary, as soon as the Mossad tasked Sagi 

with assassinating Hussein, he employed the best-known bomb-

maker in the Israeli intelligence and security services, known by his 

operational name, “Natan”. “Natan” put together a carefully 

constructed explosive device, which was hidden inside an Arabic-

language book. The device was wired to detonate once the front 

cover of the book was opened. The film suggests that the Mossad 

did manage to find a way for the book to reach the Iraqi leader. 

However, Hussein appeared suspicious about the book and had one 

of his close aides, an unnamed senior Iraqi government official, 

open it. As soon as the cover was opened, the device exploded, 

killing instantly the Iraqi official, but leaving Hussein physically 

unharmed, though certainly shocked. Later on in the documentary, 

Sagi reveals that he was also in charge of an elaborate Mossad 

program to train Iranian special forces in guerrilla warfare, in the 

hope that these skills would be employed by the Iranians during 

their eight-year war against Iraq in the 1980s. The Iranians then 

used the methods taught to them by the Mossad to train Kurdish 

peshmerga fighting Iraqi government forces on the mountains of 

northern Iraq. Yet another revelation aired in the film is that the 

bomb-maker, “Natan”, was also responsible for putting together a 

sophisticated letter-bomb sent by the Mossad to Alois Brunner, a 

German former SS official who had assisted Adolf Eichmann 

transport millions of Jews to Nazi concentration camps throughout 

Europe during World War II. Brunner, who was living in Syria, 

received the bomb, but apparently survived the blast, which killed 

two Syrian postal employees. Brunner is said to have died in Syrian 

capital Damascus in 1996 of natural causes.

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