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Israeli Gunned Down by Terrorist on Busy Thoroughfare in Madrid

January 29, 1973
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The fatal shooting of an Israeli in Madrid Friday by a suspected member of the Black September terrorist organization was seen by some observers here today as the latest incident in an ongoing undercover war between Arab terrorists and Israeli secret agents that has ranged over European capitals in recent months. The victim, Moshe Hannan Yishai, 36, of Tel Aviv, was gunned down on a main thoroughfare in the Spanish capitol by an assailant who escaped in the crowd.

Newspaper sources in Madrid quoted a person reportedly close to the Spanish government who told a reporter that he had no doubt that the shooting was “an affair between the Arabs and the Israelis related to the problems of the Middle East.” Last week Israeli newspapers published excerpts from an article in the current issue of “World,” a New York magazine, which described a counter-terrorist campaign being waged in Europe by the Mosad, Israel’s equivalent of the CIA.

Although Yishai was registered in Madrid as a tourist, observers here believe he may have been an undercover agent who managed to track down an Arab terrorist but lost his life in the process. The World article, written by Raphael Rothstein, a correspondent for the Israeli daily, Haaretz, and co-author of the recently published book, “Fedayeen Guerrillas Against Israel,” mentioned several recent unsolved killings in various European cities in which the victims, according to the writer, were either Israeli or Arab agents.


Yishai was shot at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Madrid time, outside a cafe on Madrid’s fashionable Jose Antonio Street in view of hundreds of shoppers and strollers. The cafe is operated by a Syrian businessman. The assailant is believed to have used a 6.35 mm. pistol equipped with a silencer. Yishai collapsed on the pavement near a news kiosk. He was rushed to a hospital where he died of wounds in the stomach and left arm.

Madrid authorities immediately took precautions to protect the new trade center which is reportedly financed largely by Jewish capital. Reports that the Black September had kidnapped Max Mazin, former head of Madrid’s Jewish community, proved to be unfounded. Mazin and his wife, Atara, were reported today to he in Haifa.

Yishai was the father of four children, aged 6-11, His wife, Nurit, and their children were visiting her parents at Kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar when news of the killing reached them. Mrs. Yishai was put under sedation by the kibbutz nurse: Yishai’s parents in Tel Aviv were not immediately informed of the tragedy.

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