“Wrath of God”; Thrilling story of how Mossad haunted and hunted the culprits in Munich Massacre

“A reminder, we do not forget, we do not forgive.”

If your family members read this sentence through a letter sent to them, then you will surely die in the next few hours.

The Palestinian terrorist group Black September had kidnapped Eleven Israeli Olympic team members ( 6 coaches and 5 athletes) in Munich, Germany in 1972 during the summer Olympics. After negotiation failed, all the eleven members were killed. This was known as the Munich Massacre.

Wrath of Mossad:

Israel is a nation which values each and every citizen’s life. So how can it let go the killers of Olympic players who had on a mission to make the nation proud?

Israel decided to kill everyone who were involved in Munich Massacre directly or indirectly. The targets were members of the Palestinian armed  militant group “Black September” and “Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)” operatives.

It was authorized by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the autumn of 1972, the operation is believed to have continued for over twenty years.The then Defence Minister Moshe Dayan also played an important role.

The Israeli intelligence gathered the names of all who were involved in the massacre and the final list had names of 20-35 targets. The list was a mixture of Black September and PLO elements.

The aim was clear, not only Killing of the Palestinians but also instilling fear in the enemies.

Wrath of God:

“The aim was not so much revenge but mainly to make them (the Palestinian terrorists) frightened. We wanted to make them look over their shoulders and feel that we are upon them. And therefore we tried not to do things by just shooting a guy in the street – that’s easy…fairly”, these were the words of David Kimche, former deputy head of Mossad.

Operating “Wrath of God” began on October 16, 1972 by killing a Palestinian named Wael Zwaiter in Rome. Mossad’s next prey was Mahmoud Hamshari, the PLO representative in France. Another assassination took place in London, where a Palestinian activist was pushed under a bus during rush hour.

So Mossad hunted them down in several countries. Later several terrorists were killed by Mossad by shooting.

Three targets were leaving in an high security houses in Lebanon. So it was difficult for the Israeli forces. So they launched another sub-operation under “Wrath of God” and it was known as “Operation spring of youth”.

Operation spring of youth:

On the night of April 9, 1973, Sayeret Matkal, Shayetet 13 and Tzanhanim commandos landed on the coast of Lebanon in Zodiac speedboats launched from Israeli Navy missile boats offshore. The commandos were met by Mossad agents, who drove them to their targets in cars rented the previous day, and later drove them back to the beaches for extraction. The commandos were disguised as civilians, and some were dressed as women. In Beirut, they raided guarded apartment buildings and killed Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar (Operations leader in Black September), Kamal Adwan (a Chief of Operations in the PLO) and Kamal Nasser (PLO Executive Committee member and spokesman).

Three of the eight terrorists that carried out the Munich massacre survived the botched German rescue attempt at Furstenfeldbruck at airbase on 6 September 1972 and were taken into German custody: Jamal Al-Gashey, Adnan Al-Gashey, and Mohammed Safady. On 29 October, they were released in exchange for the hostages onboard hijacked Lufthansa Flight 615 and travelled to Libya, where they went into hiding

The Israeli intelligence after few years, tracked down and killed Adnan Al-Gashey, and Mohammed Safady.

Hunt for the master mind:

Mossad continued to search for Ali Hassan Salaneh, nicknamed the Red Prince, who was the mastermind behind the Munich massacre.

At a point of time, high international outrage forced Golda Meir to order the suspension of operation “Wrath of God”.

Five years later, it was decided to recommence the operation under the new Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and find those on the list still at large.

1979, the squad assassinated Salameh in Beirut with a car bomb.

So, Israel gave a message that it will not spare the one who attack its citizens.

“A reminder, we do not forget, we do not forgive.”

This statement was written in a letter and sent to the target’s family before killing them by the Israeli security forces.

Nishika Ram