Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit-- and the Rise of Hamas

Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit-- and the Rise of Hamas

Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit-- and the Rise of Hamas

Kill Khalid: Mossad's Failed Hit-- and the Rise of Hamas


September 1997, in an Amman street in broad daylight five men purporting to be Canadian tourists, accost a Palestinian and inject a mysterious chemical into his ear. Within 48 hours it should kill him and leave no trace. The perfect political assassination. In fact, the assailants were Mossad agents; their target was Khalid Mishal, at that time head of Hamas's political bureau in Jordan. But, after 48 hours, Khalid was not dead; instead, the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of the United States and the King of Jordan were locked in intense negotiations to save his life. Kill Khalidbegins with one of the most bizarre assassination attempts in the last quarter century and follows its participants as they grapple with the unforeseen outcome of this drama. In a headlong narrative - with high-speed car chases, negotiated prisoner exchanges, and an international scandal that threatened to destabilize the entire region - Paul McGeough uses unprecedented interviews with Khalid Mishal himself and the key players in Amman, Jerusalem and Washington to tell the definitive, inside story of the rise of Hamas. "This is that rare and most exciting of books - a serious political history that reads like a fast-paced thriller. The cast includes presidents, politicians, spies, diplomats and murderers who play out their destinies against a background of conspiracy and intrigue." Phillip Knightley


The Canadians arrived on different flights from different cities. Young, fit, and well dressed, they looked the part—Westerners with deep pockets dropping in to see Jordan’s jewels … wondrous Nabatean ruins at Petra; stunning Roman relics at Jerash; and the desert wilds of Wadi Rum, where David Lean and Peter O’Toole created the cinema classic Lawrence of Arabia. If there was time, perhaps a beachside party at Aqaba on the Red Sea.

In September 1997, in the madness of the Middle East, Jordan was a pocket of relative peace. Usually a few tourists bobbed up among the suited foreign-business and white-robed-Arab traffic at Amman’s Queen Alia Airport and the Canadians were quickly swallowed by the anonymous chaos of the arrivals hall. Immigration officials perfunctorily stamped their passports; half an hour later, all five were downtown, piling out of a couple of battered taxis in the paved forecourt of the Intercontinental Hotel. Checking in, they again presented Canadian papers and chatted easily with a desk clerk about which of the tourist attractions were within easy striking distance of Amman.

Only later, when all assembled in one of their rooms, did they abandon the pretense. These “Canadian tourists” were agents for Mossad, the fabled Israeli intelligence service. Their mission in this quiet, U.S.-friendly Arab city was state-sanctioned assassination—in the name of Israel.

With the door chained from the inside, they dropped the phony accents and spoke in their own language. Unpacking their gear, they sat for one last time, methodically rehearsing the deadly detail and schedule for the coming days. They ignored the minibar. But, instinctively cautious in a part of the . . .

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