Operation Damocles: Israel's Secret War Against Hitler's Scientists, 1951-1967

Operation Damocles: Israel's Secret War Against Hitler's Scientists, 1951-1967

by Roger Howard


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The cloak-and-dagger story of the former Nazi scientists recruited by Egypt to develop long-range missiles capable of striking Israel.

From 1951 to 1967, Egypt pursued a secret program to build military rockets that could have conceivably posed a threat to neighboring Israel. Because such an ambitious project required Western expertise, the Egyptian leader president Nasser hired West German scientists, many of them veterans of the Nazi rocket program at Peenemünde and elsewhere.

These covert plans soon came to the attention of Israel’s legendary secret service, Mossad, and caused deep alarm in Tel Aviv. Could the missiles be fitted with warheads filled with radiological, chemical, or even nuclear materials? Israel responded by using threats, intimidation, and brutal assassination squads to deter the German scientists from working on Nasser’s behalf.

Exactly half a century later, this book tells the gripping story of the mysterious arms dealers, Mossad assassins, scientific genii, and leading figures who all played their part in Operation Damocles.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605985657
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 06/15/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 1,255,502
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Roger Howardis a British journalist and historian specializing in the Middle East. Roger’s articles have appeared in theGuardian, the LondonTimes, theDaily Telegraph, theIndependent, theWall Street Journal,The Spectator, theNew Statesman, theInternational Herald Tribune, and many other newspapers. He lives in England.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Striking the Sword 1

Chapter 2 Building the Network 10

Chapter 3 Sharpening the Sword 18

Chapter 4 Israel Prepares to Strike 31

Chapter 5 Tensions Grow 43

Chapter 6 Killing Mustafa 58

Chapter 7 Egypt Under Attack 69

Chapter 8 The Frustrated Scientists 81

Chapter 9 "Wanted: Specialist Engineers" 89

Chapter 10 The Mossad Reaction 103

Chapter 11 The Scientists Get to Work 115

Chapter 12 Mossad Watches the Egyptians 127

Chapter 13 The Egyptians Press Ahead 136

Chapter 14 Celebrations in Cairo 145

Chapter 15 "Little Isser" Raises the Alarm 155

Chapter 16 Operation Damocles 164

Chapter 17 Damocles Continues 179

Chapter 18 Hysteria in Israel 189

Chapter 19 Mossad Fights On 200

Chapter 20 The Egyptians Fight Back 213

Chapter 21 The Scientists Pull Out 227

Conclusion 240

Endnotes 249

Index 261

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