Meir Dagan, the former longtime chief of Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, has died of cancer at the age of 71.
- Dagan joined the Israeli army in 1963 as a paratrooper and commanded a company in the Sinai desert during the war in 1967.
- In 1970, under command of then-army leader Ariel Sharon, Dagan formed the Sayeret Rimon, a unit of soldiers disguised as Arab locals that worked in the Gaza Strip to locate Palestinian fighters.
- Dagan directed the Mossad from 2002 to 2011.
- Under his leadership, the spy agency reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyber-attacks, including the Stuxnet virus that delayed the Iranian nuclear programme.
- After he stepped down, Dagan was a fierce opponent of a military strike in Iran. He openly criticised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the recently implemented nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
- Born in 1945 in Ukraine to Holocaust survivors, Dagan reached the rank of general in the Israeli army.
- Mossad short for HaMossad leModiʿin uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim, is the national intelligence agency of Israel.
- It is one of the main entities in the Israeli Intelligence Community, along with Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bet (internal security).
- Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counterterrorism, as well as bringing Jews to Israel from countries where official Aliyah agencies are forbidden, and protecting Jewish communities.
- Its director reports directly to the Prime Minister.