Israel’s assassination machine

Jim Muir on a forensic exposé of a state’s secret killings

The World Today Updated 9 November 2020 Published 27 September 2018 3 minute READ

Jim Muir

Former Middle East correspondent, BBC

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations

Ronen Bergman, John Murray, £19.99

It was a chilly January day in 1979 and I was minding the BBC’s business in its Mneimneh Street office, off Hamra, when the normal hum of a Beirut afternoon was shattered by a loud explosion.

A few streets away lay the smoking wreckage of the Chevrolet in which Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s most able and glamorous figures, had been on his way to the office after lunching at home with his wife, the Lebanese beauty queen Georgina Rizk.

As with so many similar events before and after, we were largely in the dark reporting this one. Israel was the obvious suspect, but it kept a stolid silence as it always did. Could it have been Palestinian in-fighting? Syrian intelligence? Maybe. We just didn’t know.

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