Israeli operative interview reveals details of PLO co-founder's assassination
November 2, 2012 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
A picture taken on April 22, 1987 shows late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, consulting with Fatah military chief Khalil al-Wazir.
- Abu Jihad was a co-founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization
- He was killed by gunfire in 1988, at a Tunisian villa
- A now-dead Israeli agent claimed in an interview 12 years ago that he killed Abu Jihad
- Israel's censor is for the first time allowing the interview to be published
Jerusalem (CNN) -- The family of one of the men who founded the Palestine Liberation Organization says they have always believed he was assassinated by Israel, and now they have proof.
Israel's censor is for the first time allowing a newspaper to publish a 12-year-old interview with the now-dead Israeli agent who claimed he killed Khalil al-Wazir, widely known as Abu Jihad.
Abu Jihad helped found the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, alongside the man who became the symbol of the Palestinian struggle, Yasser Arafat. Abu Jihad was killed by gunfire in Tunisia in 1988, in a villa in Tunis. His wife witnessed the assassination.
Murder inquiry launched in Arafat's death
The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth obtained access to an interview done with operative Nahum Lev, who died in 2000. For 12 years the Lev interview -- done by reporter Ronen Bergman -- was kept from the public.
The newspaper initially released a few of Lev's reported quotes, including one in which he said he shot Abu Jihad with no hesitation after reading the file that Israeli intelligence had on him. He said what he read connected the Palestinian leader to horrific acts against civilians.
Two bodyguards and a gardener were also shot and killed in the raid in Tunis.
The newspaper said Mossad, Israel¹s famed intelligence agency, oversaw the assassination and Israel's commando unit carried it out.
The account by the Israeli operative gives an extremely rare glimpse into the details of an assassination and who was involved. More details of the interview are expected to be released.
A family member of Abu Jihad who did not want to be identified told CNN, "We already knew all the terrible details of his death. Knowing the name of the person who carried it out has no added value."
Abu Jihad was instrumental in the first uprising against the Israeli occupation known as the first Intifada, which began in late 1987.
At the time of the assassination, the Israeli prime minister was Yitzhak Shamir. Ehud Barak who is now Israel's defense minister, was Israel's deputy chief of staff.
The publication of the interview comes at an interesting time. This month French investigators are expected in Ramallah to look into the death of PLO leader Arafat. Arafat's wife believes he was murdered -- questions were raised about how Arafat died after traces of polonium-210, a highly radioactive element, were found on his personal belongings. Yasser Arafat died in a hospital in Paris, France in 2004.
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories