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Posted: 12/16/2003 2:57:33 AM EDT
Revenge for the SCUD attacks in 1991
Elite IDF Sayeret Matkal unit trained Saddam hit in 1992

Sayeret Matkal, the the IDF General Staff's elite reconnaissance force, in 1992 planned a daring assassination attempt against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein by landing commandos in Iraq and firing sophisticated missiles at him during a funeral.

The attempt was called off after an accident in a training exercise for the mission ended in the deaths of five soldiers.

The Maariv daily reported that with the capture of Saddam, Israeli military censorship lifted its ban on publication of the full story. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.

Labor Party Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh, who was a member of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee in 1992, confirmed the army was preparing to kill Saddam, but refused to discuss details of the operation. He said late-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had ordered the operation.

"The credit should be given to the prime minister because it was his courage to approve this operation," Sneh said.

"Like in Entebbe and other daring operations, it was Rabin who took this decision," Sneh added, referring to an Israeli operation in Uganda 1976 that freed hostages from a hijacked airplane.

Poll: Should Israel have gone through with the assassination plan?

The Israeli military put together the plan to kill Saddam in retaliation for Iraq's firing 39 Scud missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf war. However, the plan was never brought before the government for final approval. The paper said critics warned that whether it succeeded or failed, it could have triggered Iraqi retaliation in the form of a biological attack.

The paper said soldiers from the army's top commando unit, Sayeret Matkal, were to be flown into Iraq to carry out the mission.

Israeli military intelligence determined that Saddam himself, and not one of his doubles, would attend the funeral of his father-in-law in Saddam's home town, and the assassination could be carried out there. The relative was seriously ill at the time.

The commandos would set up a few kilometers from the cemetery and fire two specially designed missiles that would home in on Saddam, who wore a lighter color military uniform from other soldiers. The custom-made missiles were named "Obelisk," the paper said.

After the assassination, the commandos were to be flown out of Iraq on an Israeli plane that would take off from a temporary airfield build in Iraq, the paper said.

The training mishap occurred during one of the final run-throughs on Nov. 5, 1992, at the large Tzeelim training base in the southern Negev desert.

The five soldiers, also members of the elite unit, were playing the part of the targets, Saddam Hussein and his bodyguards, and the commandos were to fire a dummy missile at them. By mistake, a live missile was substituted, and the five were killed. Six others were wounded.

The mishap led to cancellation of the assassination attempt. Maariv reported that in fact, as predicted by Israeli intelligence, Saddam himself attended the funeral where he was to have been targeted.

Shabtai Shavit, a former Mossad chief, told Army Radio Tuesday that he is afraid that the publication of the mission training may cause Israel serious security harm.

"In order to tell you how much damage the publication caused then I will have to tell you things that you can't know," Shavit told the radio interviewer.

The top commanders of the Israeli military were at the base to watch the exercise, including the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, later Israel's prime minister. The fact of his presence came out a few days after the mishap, leading to rumors about the real mission, including the possibility that it was aimed at Saddam.

Israeli military censorship clamped a tight lid on the accident and the purpose of the training, banning publication of the details. After two foreign newspapers printed stories that the target was Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the Israeli government suspended the press credentials of the papers' reporters in Israel, charging that they had broken censorship rules.

Maariv reported Tuesday that the Nasrallah story was a government plant to distract reporters from the real target - Saddam - and the suspension of the reporters' press credentials was part of the deception.
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer&cid=1071541096433
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 3:11:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 4:29:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/16/2003 4:29:35 AM EDT by StariVojnik]
[b]....and the commandos were to fire a dummy missile at them. By mistake, a live missile was substituted, and the five were killed. Six others were wounded.[/b] Thats very strange, I guess accidents happen even with some of the best special op's. Damm! That would have been a great story if they had succeeded in accomplishing their mission. Once again...Damm! [/quote]
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 4:31:29 AM EDT
Rumor is Delta loses about one man every year to accidents. Thats what happens in that line of work--if you arent taking risks in training, youre not learning.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 11:45:10 AM EDT
Israelis planned to assassinate Saddam in 1992 I would bet $5.00 they have a secret plan to assassinate just about any head of state including ours.
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 11:56:40 AM EDT
Originally Posted By u-baddog: Israelis planned to assassinate Saddam in 1992 I would bet $5.00 they have a secret plan to assassinate just about any head of state including ours.
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Of course, just look at the LIBERTY!
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 1:03:00 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Sylvan:
Originally Posted By u-baddog: Israelis planned to assassinate Saddam in 1992 I would bet $5.00 they have a secret plan to assassinate just about any head of state including ours.
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Of course, just look at the LIBERTY!
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Here we go again
Link Posted: 12/16/2003 1:10:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By StariVojnik: [b]....and the commandos were to fire a dummy missile at them. By mistake, a live missile was substituted, and the five were killed. Six others were wounded.[/b] Thats very strange, I guess accidents happen even with some of the best special op's. Damm! That would have been a great story if they had succeeded in accomplishing their mission. Once again...Damm!
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Apparently they weren't going to try it unless there was a "98% probability of success", according to FNC. While the special ops guys were killed the fill in for SH was only wounded; result was calling off the mission. I heard this on FNC at noon.
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