Rafi Eitan, the legendary Mossad spy who led the team that captured Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann in Argentina, has died at the age of 92.
Eitan was one of the founders of Israel’s intelligence community and among its most prominent figures in Israel and abroad.
“His wisdom, wit and commitment to the people of Israel and our state were without peer.”
The 1960 operation to capture Eichmann in Argentina and bring him to trial in Jerusalem was perhaps Mossad’s most memorable mission.
It brought to life the horrors of the Nazi “Final Solution”, of which Eichmann was the architect, creating a blueprint to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Europe.
He had fled Germany after the Second World War and assumed the name Ricardo Klement in Argentina.
Mr Eitan, who headed a seven-man team on the ground, grabbed Eichmann on the way back to his Buenos Aires home, shoved him into a car and spirited him to a safe house.
In the back seat of the car, one agent shoved a gloved hand inside Eichmann’s mouth in case he had a cyanide pill hidden in a tooth, as some former top Nazis were known to have to foil their capture.
Mr Eitan identified Eichmann by searching his body for distinctive scars on his arm and stomach, recalling years later: “And once I felt it I was convinced. This is the man – we got Eichmann.”
Mossad director Yossi Cohen said the majority of Eitan’s exploits still remain unknown to the general public.