This year… Israel assassinated Saddam Hussein’s top nuclear scientist

Saddam Hussein, accompanied by numerous scientists and nuclear specialists

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Egyptian nuclear scientist Yahya Al-Mashad preferred to move to Iraq to work on Iraq’s nuclear program after nuclear research in Egypt was stopped

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Following an agreement concluded between Saddam Hussein and Jacques Chirac, who was prime minister at that time, Iraq, in collaboration with France, began to launch its own nuclear program in the 1970s.

During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq’s Tammuz nuclear reactor was subjected to Iranian bombing, which caused no significant damage. In 1981, Israel led Operation Opera, through which it launched an air strike on the Iraqi reactor, which had become offline. of the service.

Shortly before, Israel had dealt a major blow to Iraq’s nuclear program by assassinating Yahya Al-Mashad, who at that time represented the leading nuclear scientists in Iraq.

A photo of the July attack after the Israeli bombing

Towards Iraq

During his scientific career, Yahya Al-Mashad, born in 1932, studied engineering at the University of Alexandria and graduated as an engineer in the field of electrical engineering. Thanks to a scholarship obtained from the Egyptian state, Al-Mashad moved in 1956 to Moscow. , where he continued his education at the Institute of Energy Engineering.

Six years later, the latter received a doctorate in the field of nuclear engineering. Subsequently, Yahya Al-Mashad returned to Egypt and worked at the Egyptian Atomic Energy Commission as a researcher and engineer.

After the 1967 war, nuclear research in Egypt stopped. After the October 1973 war, Egyptian research moved to other energy fields. Because of this, Yahya Al-Mashad’s situation became complicated and he soon decided to join the Iraqi Baath Party. In Iraq, Yahya Al-Mashad found what he was looking for, as this Egyptian scientist agreed to work on the Iraqi nuclear program and at the same time taught at the Baghdad University of Technology.

A contemporary photo of part of what remains of the July attack

The assassination of Yahya Al-Mashad

Surprisingly, on June 14, 1980, French authorities found Yahya Al-Mashad dead at the Le Méridien hotel in the capital Paris. According to some French reports, Yahya Al-Mashad’s body was found wounded in the neck by a bullet knife. , and numerous stab wounds were also found in various parts of his body.

In addition to the hypothesis that he was killed with a knife, some spoke of severe violence that Yahya Al-Mashad caused him to lose consciousness and die. A few weeks later, French authorities reported finding the body of a girl related to Yahya Al-Mashad, and the latter was mysteriously killed after being hit by a fleeing motorist.

Following this incident, French investigators spoke about the Israeli Mossad being behind the assassination of Yahya Al-Mashad, even though they had no clear evidence convicting the Israelis. Meanwhile, after the assassination of Yahya Al-Mashad, Israel talked about dealing a death blow to Iraq’s nuclear program and delaying it, without officially declaring its responsibility for the assassination.

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