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Mossad hunts terror leaders

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1960 -- Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann kidnapped from Argentina to face trial in Israel.

1970s -- Several Arabs connected with the Black September terrorist group assassinated.

1974 -- Ahmad Boushiki, an Algerian mistaken for PLO security head Ali Ahmad Salameh, is killed by Mossad. In February 1996 the Israeli government agreed to compensate Boushiki's family.

1986 -- Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu kidnapped from London to face charges in connection with a British newspaper's revelations of Israel's nuclear weapons program.

1988 -- Assassination team invades a well-guarded residence in Tunis and murders Yasser Arafat's deputy, Abu Jihad.

1990 -- Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist who developed a "super gun" for Iraq, killed at his Brussels apartment.

1995 -- Director-general of Mossad, known only as "S," forced to retire following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin by an Israeli opponent of the peace process.

1997 -- Attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshaal, a top political leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, fails in Jordan.

1999 -- Israel dismisses suggestions that Mossad was behind the crash of an EgyptAir passenger aircraft off the coast of the U.S. that killed 217 people.

MOMBASA, Kenya -- Israel's Mossad spy agency, which has a long record of hunting terror suspects, is leading the investigation into the twin attacks on Israeli tourists in Kenya.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon echoed the pledge his country made after the killing of 11 of its athletes taken hostage by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

He said in a televised speech in the wake of Thursday's attacks: "Our long arm shall reach the terrorists and those who dispatch them.

"Israel shall chase down those who spill the blood of its citizens. No one will emerge unscathed."

Mossad eventually tracked down and killed those responsible for the 1972 Munich attack.

In Thursday's attacks in Kenya, 13 people were killed when three suicide bombers blew up the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa. (Full story)

A short time earlier, unknown assailants fired two missiles at an Israeli charter plane carrying 271 people, but missed their target.

Kenyan and Israeli investigators have initially blamed the attacks on the al Qaeda terror group.

Israel's defence minister, Shaul Mofaz, said: "Our hand will reach them. ... If anyone doubted that the citizens of the state of Israel cannot stand up to the killers of children, this doubt will be removed."

Yossi Melman, an Israeli expert on the Mossad, told Reuters: "(It) will have to work hard -- it won't be easy -- but they definitely can do it

"I expect Israel will rely heavily on the CIA and Kenya, but if it identifies who was behind (the attacks), it will try to take them out."

Melman said the attacks appeared to be the work of "local al Qaeda" from eastern Africa or Yemen.

He added: "(The Mossad) has more experience (than the Americans) in assassinations. But the Americans have much more information about al Qaeda."

Giora Shamis, editor in chief of, a popular Israeli Internet site specialising in intelligence matters, said the Mossad would be entering "a very long and dark tunnel" in trying to take on al Qaeda.

He told Reuters: "It is not an operation of one organization. As usual with al Qaeda, it is a joint venture of a few organisations."

Mossad -- Hebrew for "institute" -- has a long record of hunting terror suspects.

Formerly known as the Central Institute for Coordination and the Central Institute for Intelligence and Security, Mossad was formed in April 1951.

It was established by then-Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who gave as Mossad's primary directive: "For our state which since its creation has been under siege by its enemies, intelligence constitutes the first line of defence. ... We must learn well how to recognise what is going on around us."

The secretive organisation is responsible for human intelligence collection, covert action and counterterrorism, though in 2000 it advertised openly for would-be spies in the Israeli press and on the Internet.

It is believed to consist of eight departments, though some details of the internal organisation of the agency remain obscure.

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