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A history of violence: Israel's targeted assassinations Open in fullscreen

Charlie Hoyle

A history of violence: Israel's targeted assassinations

Israel neither confirms nor denies the existence of a targeted assassination program. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 November, 2018

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Israel is estimated to have carried out more than 2,700 assassinations since the state's founding in 1948.
Israel has a long history of targeted assassinations dating back to the 1950s, when Egyptian army general Mustafa Hafez was killed by a bomb concealed in a book.

Exploding telephones, car bombs, armed drones, and poisoned toothpaste would all feature in future covert campaigns, the most notorious of which saw Mossad agents hunt Palestinian political leaders across Europe in revenge for the Munich massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in 1972.

Israeli operations have seen the headquarters of PLO leader Yasser Arafat bombed in Tunisia, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal poisoned in Jordan, Hizballah officials assassinated in Lebanon, and nuclear scientists targeted in Iran.

Israel's Mossad intelligence agency has been accused of many of these high-profile killings, but its deliberate policy of 'ambiguity' means it has not admitted to its involvement.

Research by Ronen Bergman, an Israeli investigative journalist, reveals Israel is estimated to have carried out more than 2,700 assassination operations since the state's founding in 1948.

Israel neither confirms nor denies the existence of a targeted assassination programme.

Explore Israel's most high-profile assassinations below, in our interactive timeline.



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