Ex-Israeli Spy Who Headed Mossad in 1973 War Dead at 98

Former Israeli spy chief Zvi Zamir, who headed Mossad during the 1973 Arab-Israel war, has died at the age of 98, the government said on Tuesday.

Zamir, who led the agency between 1968 and 1974, pioneered a strategy that still endures: deploying secret operatives abroad to assassinate Israel’s enemies.

“His tenure as director of the Mossad was characterised by extensive action, while dealing with significant challenges,” a government statement said, adding that Zamir died in Israel on Monday night.

That includes “the fight against Palestinian terrorism” as well as the “military threat to the State of Israel, which peaked with the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War”, it said, referring to the 1973 Arab-Israel conflict.

Mossad led “daring” counter-terrorism operations under his tenure, it said, including global efforts to eliminate the leaders of the Palestinian militant group Black September, which was blamed for the 1972 murder of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich.

Zamir spearheaded the “Wrath of God” operation to hunt down senior militants Israel blamed for the Munich bloodbath.

On his watch, Mossad also expanded clandestine links with regional powers and recruited sources and spies.

The most prominent among them was Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan, nicknamed “The Angel”.

Marwan, son-in-law of then Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and adviser to his successor Anwar Sadat, was suspected of being a double agent who alerted the Mossad to an imminent attack on the eve of Yom Kippur in 1973.

On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Jewish fast of Yom Kippur to try to win back their lost territories.

Israel prevailed but suffered heavy losses, especially in the initial days of the war. Six years later Egypt became the first Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel.

Since its creation 75 years ago as a homeland for the Jewish people following the Holocaust, Israel has been in conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbours.

An attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on southern Israel on October 7 — which has spiralled into all-out war in the Gaza Strip — has evoked parallels in the media with the 1973 conflict.


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