Wedding Crashers

What I at first thought was just a single issue as a gift turned out to be a full subscription to The Counter Terrorist. I’ve had one issue sitting around staring at me for months, and finally got around to cracking it. The first article offers some interesting lessons beyond those the author seems to have taken away. While the actual operation is pretty unequivocally badass, there seem to be a couple unnecessary elements towards the end.

Aaron Cohen on the cover of his book.

In “Undercover in Nablus” (an excerpt from his recent book Brotherhood of Warriors: Behind Enemy Lines with a Commando in One of the World’s Most Elite Counterterrorism Units), Aaron Cohen, an operative in an Israeli Duvdevan unit, describes an attempt to capture ‘Abu Jihad’, the “Hamas mastermind behind the Dizengoff Mall bombing.” The plan is simple yet intricate. Two operators posing as friends of the groom will snatch Abu Jihad from a wedding reception in Mishraim once the entire unit has eyes-on the target. But everyone prepares for the worst-case scenario, of course:

Rooftop snipers would surround the target location. We would have a dozen undercover cars with heavy weaponry on the perimeter, circling the streets of Nablus.

Cohen was posing as a sweet-corn vendor, with a heavily modified cart:

The cart also had a live-action camera feed… If a firefight were to break out, I had my SIG tucked at the small of my back and the bottom of the cart was custom lined with Kevlar. Flipped on its side, the cart would provide cover as a bulletproof barricade.

The actual snatch goes pretty well. Cohen gets eyes-on the target, followed by confirmation from the rest of the unit. Within six seconds the two operators inside the wedding reception grab Abu Jihad without drawing their weapons and hustle him into a waiting fake taxi.

Cohen and the others begin to just drift away, but it’s what happens right after the snatch that troubles me.

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