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ISRAELI DEATH SQUAD ON OUR STREETS
MOSSAD ASSASSINS RETURN TO BRITAIN AFTER 17 YEARS' ABSENCE TO 'DISABLE' THREAT FROM ISLAMIC TERRORISTS
May 11, 2003
Exclusive by Gordon Thomas, Tim Shipman and Yvonne Ridley
MOSSAD has sent four of its top assassins to Britain, provoking fears of a violent showdown on the streets with Islamic terrorists.
The kidon assassination squad has joined 15 handpicked katsas - Mossad's regular field agents - in the UK to "carry the war to our enemies", according to senior Israeli sources.
Their brief is to "disable" any of the "close to 50" British Muslims that the extremist Islamic group, Al-Muhajiroun, last week boasted were "primed and ready" to carry out suicide missions similar to the one in Tel Aviv carried out by a British passport holder.
An MI5 source said: "In Mossadspeak 'disable' means taking them out permanently. We know from past experience the kidon can make murder look like an accident. It is their speciality."
Two of the kidon sent to Britain are understood to be women trained in the art of the honeytrap.
Former Mossad chief Meir Amit said: "Sex is a woman's weapon.
Pillow talk is not a problem for her.
But it takes a special kind of courage to sleep with the enemy."
Rafi Eitan, a former director of operations, said: "We are like the official hangman or the doctor on death row who administers the lethal injection. We are simply fulfiling a sentence sanctioned by the prime minister of the day".
Since he has come to office Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has "sanctioned" a number of assassinations of terrorists who could not be brought before Israeli courts.
The decision to send in Mossad came after urgent discussions between the two governments last weekend, which were described as "heated". One senior Israeli minister accused Britain of becoming a "haven for terrorists" during a hostile telephone conversation.
Later, Mossad's new chief, Meir Dagan, called Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, and told her that his men would co-operate closely with her agents.
The next day, katsas from Mossad headquarters in Brussels had flown into Heathrow, followed 24 hours later by the four-man kidon from Israel.
Supporting them are Mossad yahalomin, who are specialists at bugging phones and buildings.
Israel has made it clear that it fears Britain has become a haven for extremist preachers.
British intelligence officers are angry that Mossad's arrival in force in Britain for the first time since 1986 undermines their independence and casts serious doubts on their ability to deal with the enemy within. Their worst fear is that innocent civilians could get mixed up in an assassination attempt or a botched kidnapping.
But they also fear that the Mossad incursion into Britain is an attempt to embarrass the Labour Government, which has upset Mr Sharon through Tony Blair's stern advocacy of the Middle East peace road map.
A British intelligence source said: "The whole purpose would be to neutralise Britain and eliminate Blair from taking part in the talks on the grounds his country is harbouring terrorists.
"Sharon gets rid of UK interference and is able to shoehorn Mossad in to Britain again with the blessing of the Government." The Israeli embassy in London denied Mossad is on British soil and praised the role of the British intelligence services.
A spokeswoman said: "Britain has offered full cooperation in the investigation of the suicide bombings. We are very satisfied, we have full confidence in MI5 and MI6, we have very good relations."
The security situation will form a key part of talks this week between Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and his Israeli opposite number Silvan Shalom. These will be the first toplevel talks with Mossad on British soil since Margaret Thatcher ordered their operations to be shut down in 1986 after a "honeytrap" operation to kidnap Mordechai Vanunu, the whistleblower who revealed secrets about Israel's nuclear arsenal.
In Britain, the kidon are banned from using guns or explosives. But they are equipped with long and short-blade knives, and piano wire to strangle their victims.
Victor Ostrovsky, a former member of the assassination team, said:
"Strangulation if the target is to be killed at night. Sometimes an aerosol or a syringe in the jugular to deliver a fast-acting nerve agent that kills and leaves no trace."
In the past, Mossad has killed terrorists in Paris, Frankfurt and other European cities.