The First Intifada

The content and consequences of the 1987 Palestinian uprising.

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At its most sophisticated level of security intelligence, Israeli retaliation focused on the suspected PLO "brains" of the intifada. Thus, in February 1988, Mossad agents tracked down three of the Fatah's principal military commanders in Limassol, Cyprus, and assassinated them. Two months later, another group of Mossad operatives was landed off the coast of Tunis by sea, then made its way to the suburban headquarters of "Abu Jihad," Arafat's deputy and the mastermind of innumerable acts of guerrilla violence against Israel over the years. Shooting their way in, the commandos cut down Abu Jihad and seventeen of his associates. Meanwhile, in Palestine itself, Israeli Shin Bet [Israel’s domestic security agency] personnel continued the hunt for PLO and Hamas militants, arresting and occasionally killing their prey in sudden break‑ins and firefights.

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Howard Sachar

Howard M. Sachar is the author of numerous books, including A History of Israel, A History of the Jews in America, Farewell Espana, Israel and Europe, and A History of Jews in the Modern World. He is also the editor of the 39-volume The Rise of Israel: A Documentary History. He serves as Professor of Modern History at George Washington University.