Tel Aviv, Oct 25 (IANS): Major General Yair Ravid (retd) is a cult figure in intelligence circles and security establishments of Israel. Under pseudonym 'Abu Daud', he had commanded several missions deep in several countries for spy agency Mossad.
Ravid spoke to IANS at his residence on the ongoing war with Hamas, Israel’s operations and whether there was a failure.
IANS: Israel has faced one of its biggest catastrophes in recent years. Many have linked it to the holocaust. Your views?
Ravid: Yes, this is indeed a major national calamity. We have lost 1,400 of our citizens, more than 200 are in the custody of terrorists and we are indeed facing a major issue. However, as you know, we are a community of resilient and tough people and we will over come this and bring peace and normalcy in our country and around it.
IANS: Do you feel that there was an intelligence failure in this? Was Mossad not able to read what was coming in?
Ravid: Let me tell you, Mossad is in no way involved in the intelligence of the neighbouring areas. It is done totally by Shin Bet and Military Intelligence.It was not really a failure but sort of complacency and we trusted too much on our confidence. Whatever be this should not have happened. Right now this is not the time to speak on this as we are at war and a war which will have its logical conclusions.
IANS: You were known as Abu Daud in intelligence circles. Why and how?
Ravid: I was deep into Lebanon and was involved in several missions in that country. I may not be able to reveal much of that but I was given such a name inside our circles.
IANS:As you know, the Hamas has inflicted a major blow to Israel and more than anything else, many have lost their lives. What are you going to do about this ?
Ravid: Hamas will pay a heavy price for this. I am not just saying for the sake of saying. Anyone who knows Israel and our machinery understands it well. We will go behind each and every top Hamas leader who participated in the conspiracy and will wipe them out. We are getting proper information on all this and will execute the plan systematically. No one will go scot free from our hands.
IANS: Do you feel that Iran is behind these attacks on Israel?
Ravid: Israel doesn't care whether Iran is behind this or any other country for that matter. Iran has always been supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and several other fringe elements also. We have got proper information on all these and will act accordingly. We, as a country, had taken a pledge that we will not allow another holocaust and hence, we cannot rest until we wipe them out of this universe. There is no rest for Israel and its forces until the Hamas is totally eradicated and take it from me, it is going to happen.
IANS: Israel has mustered huge troops near Gaza and there are reports that the ground assault is about to begin. However is there something that is keeping the Israeli side to go for the attack?
RAvid: Israel will definitely attack Gaza strip with its armed forces and a ground assault will happen. It is the military to decide the time of the attack and the army is geared up for that. As I said earlier, we don’t care about opinions, first let us finish off this war and then talk. So we will raid into the Gaza Strip and finish them off.
IANS: There are reports that several underground tunnels are dug by Hamas and this will be a problem to Israel during its ground assault. Your comments?
Ravid: There is a point beyond which no one can hide in a tunnel. It requires oxygen, fuel and many other factors and they will be smoked out of these tunnels and I hope you know that we have the best unit that can fight in under ground.This is a war which we have to eradicate the menace and we will fight it to the hilt.
IANS: You had been hit by an array of bullets in your right hand during your younger days and you even took salute with left hand?
RavId: As an officer in the Israel army, I have to take bullets and I had bled profusely. I came back to life and did complete several further army courses with distinction and served in the external intelligence agency, Mossad for many years.
IANS: Can you tell us about the Mossad operation to revenge 1972 Munich Olympics murder of Israel athletes?
Ravid: It is on record that all those who were behind the conspiracy to annihilate the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic village had to pay a heavy price. Every one who were behind the conspiracy and who had settled in several European cities were hounded out and killed.Iwill not be able to speak more on that.