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King Hussein Won’t Allow Israel to Reopen Its Spy Office

January 20, 1998
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jordan’s King Hussein is insisting that the chief of the Israeli foreign intelligence service be fired.

The king also rejected an Israeli request to reopen the Mossad office in the Jordanian capital of Amman, which was shut down after a bungled attempt to assassinate Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal on the streets of the Jordanian capital last September.

According to Israeli sources quoted by the London-based newsletter Foreign Report, Hussein personally rebuked Mossad chief Danny Yatom at a meeting in Amman after realizing that the Mossad was behind the operation.

Hussein is said to have asked Yatom how he could have done such a thing and how he dared operate in Jordan “while I am hosting your people.”

Yatom reportedly tried to explain, but the king interrupted him to say it was inexcusable.

Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yatom is said to have protested: “But I got my orders from Bibi. And you know exactly what my relationship with Bibi is like.”

According to the newsletter, Hussein was not convinced and told Yatom he should have resigned rather than carry out such an operation.

Yatom was then reportedly asked to leave.

The closure of the Amman office was a catastrophe for the Mossad, according to Foreign Report.

The office, which began operations in 1994, had become a major source of information for Israeli intelligence and was a hub for close cooperation with Jordanian security and intelligence services on issues of mutual concern.

A senior officer had been in charge of the Mossad station in Amman, and some sources cited by Foreign Report said this officer was more important to Israel than the Israeli ambassador to Jordan.

The newsletter said Mossad officers are demoralized and some have resigned. At least one is said to have committed suicide.

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