Spy Ops Episode 5 began discussing the Mossad’s role in eliminating almost every member of Black September, which sent shockwaves across the world. The Munich Olympics massacre left a scar that will be hard to erase. Revenge was the motivation of the Israeli government. The only member they could not find was Ali Hassan Salameh, the chief of Black September and a close associate of Yasser Arafat of the PLO. Spy Ops Episode 6 is the continuation of Israel’s hunt to neutralize Salameh.
What Happened In Lillehammer, Norway?
The Mossad never stopped their search for Ali Hassan Salameh. They tried to locate him in Lebanon and Europe in the hope of catching him red-handed, but he was nowhere to be found. There were several pictures of him circulating with Yasser Arafat and several other groups, which proved that he was alive, but he was like a ghost who appears and disappears without a trace. Ali Hassan Salameh was probably made aware of the assassinations of all his peers. He was probably playing a clever hide-and-seek game just to tease the Israeli government.
Mossad made a major breakthrough in the case when they got an intel that Salameh might be hiding in a small town of Lillehammer, Norway. Five Mossad operatives head to the Scandinavian country and start tailing a man who supposedly resembles Salameh. One of the operatives was doubtful if this man was the right target. Her concerns make sense because why would an ultra-rich Arab businessman work as a waiter in a small town in Norway?
The Mossad goes ahead with the plan and ends up killing this man in Norway. To everyone’s shock, the person they killed was Ahmed, a Moroccan national who only bore a resemblance to Salameh. Things went south very quickly when all the Mossad agents were arrested by the Norwegian police for their role in the death of Ahmed Bouchikhi. This led to severe diplomatic tensions between the two countries. The agents were sentenced by the Norwegian court. They were extradited to Israel after 22 months of strenuous negotiations with Norway. The agents probably made plenty of mistakes right after killing the wrong man, which is what led to their arrests.
Rules state that if a spy is caught committing a crime in a foreign country, the state the spy belongs to does not take responsibility for the agents to avoid diplomatic rows. The Israeli agents probably got too confident since most of their missions in Europe were successful without any immediate furor. Golda Meir’s government put an end to ‘Operation Wrath of God’ after this major incident.
It was probably the right decision to make because the Israeli government could not afford to lose face if they were again caught sniffing in a foreign country looking for Salameh. The Israelis initially did not apologize to Ahmed’s wife and family for their mistake. It is revealed in the documentary that some years down the line, they paid Ahmed’s wife a handsome amount as compensation and in the hope that the lady would not speak to the media as well. The Israeli government and their intelligence agency admitting their mistake is a big deal. Now that all this information is declassified, there is no harm in revealing their fault to the public.
What Was The CIA’s Role?
The CIA always looked for potential allies in both Palestine and Israel. Salameh was the crucial point of contact that the CIA thought could be used in the coming years. Yasser Arafat also assigned Salameh to form a back channel to connect with the CIA and probably offer some treaty or deal that could benefit both parties eventually. The German intelligence operative in Spy Ops Episode 6 speaks about having found no trace of Salameh’s name in any records. The man existed only in photographs, which proves that Salameh was vile but intelligent enough to make sure he did not come under the Mossad’s radar.
Even though the CIA and the American government had an agreement with Israel, they connected with Salameh as well. Salameh was advised to admit the role of Force 17 in the American kidnappings that happened in Beirut, which helped the CIA ease up on him and the demands he may have on behalf of Yasser Arafat. Force 17 was a special operations unit of Fatah, the military wing of the PLO. It was Salameh’s work that led to Yasser Arafat being given the stage at the UN General Assembly to speak about the right to form a Palestinian state. Israel was baffled and angered by the CIA’s moves, which forced then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin to go after Salameh. Israel had the chance to eliminate the man now that he was slowly becoming a public figure thanks to his celebrity model wife, Georgina, and Yasser Arafat.
Where Was Ali Hassan Salameh Found?
After years of searching, Ali Hassan Salameh was found in Lebanon, and he is now married to Miss Universe pageant winner Georgina Rizk. This led to the couple receiving plenty of unwanted media attention. Georgina was a mini-celebrity, and it came with the barrage of entertainment media and paparazzi following and photographing the couple. Ali Salameh was now willing to come out to the public since the Israelis had to shut down Operation Wrath of God.
Ali Hassan Salameh, at this point, had become a shadow of Yasser Arafat and was always seen in proximity to the PLO leader, who was gaining a lot of traction globally for his fight to recognize Palestine. Israel managed to send Agent X to Lebanon to trail Salameh and understand his daily itinerary. To everyone’s surprise, Agent X and Salameh became good friends, and this allowed him to get plenty of information about Salameh’s life so that the intel could be used to assassinate him.
Israel reopened ‘Operation Wrath of God’ now that Salameh had been found. They also brought in another agent, Erika Mary Chambers, to keep a tab on Salameh’s convoy. Her apartment was near Salameh’s home, which gave her a vantage point to understand what the right place could be to neutralize him. Israel, at this juncture, cannot give up on Salameh because they are too close to letting him go. Erika was good at her job and found the right spot just below his apartment to plant a car bomb. This bomb might cause plenty of collateral damage, which is very uncharacteristic of the Mossad. We assume this was the only way to get rid of Salameh once and for all.
What Were The Aftereffects Of Operation Wrath Of God’?
Erica Mary Chambers played a crucial role in the placement of the car bomb. As Salameh’s convoy went past it, the bomb went off, injuring his bodyguards. Salameh died in the hospital, ending Israel’s quest for the man who was one of the last surviving members of Black September. Mossad’s hunt to neutralize all members of this terrorist outfit ended in 1992. This proves that the intelligence agency’s determination was relentless, and it did not forget its goal of exacting revenge over the years.
The Israelis never forgot that their innocent athletes were made scapegoats for Black September’s evil intentions. The terrorists getting assassinated even 20 years after the incident further escalated the tensions between the two states.
Salameh’s death led to the end of the link between the CIA and Arafat. Arafat was asked by the American administration to renounce terrorism if his demands for a separate state were to be taken seriously. Israel’s hunt for the terrorists had ended, but the fight for identity in the region by these two states became the center of world politics.
The conflict almost reached a resolution when the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat agreed to mutually cooperate towards finding a peaceful resolution to their conflict. Their signing of a letter of mutual agreement in 1993 was a step towards making the peace process more dialogue-based and not engaging in any warfare going forward. This was the result of years of back-and-forth conflict that ended in the deaths of many Israelis and Palestinians.
The Oslo Accord was signed in the same year, which recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestine State, and Yasser Arafat agreed to recognize Israel’s right to exist. It took 23 years after the killings of the athletes in Munich to reach this moment, when both parties agreed to coexist as neighbors. We are not sure how beneficial the Oslo Accords are now for the Palestinians. Perhaps we will need another documentary series on the aftermath of this peace treaty signed between two previously warring nations.
Spy Ops Episode 6 ends with Jalloul Chico Bouchikhi, the brother of the wrongfully killed Ahmed Bouchikhi in Norway, being invited with his band Gypsy Kings to perform at the first anniversary of the Oslo Treaty. The man is still hurt by the way his brother’s death was handled years ago, but he chose to forgive them. Jalloul believes in forgiving and moving forward because it will help him receive closure. He was also made a UNESCO special envoy for peace because he chose to be content with propagating a peaceful process. His brother, being the victim of conflict between two nations, will stay with him, but he would not want anybody to be collateral.