Israeli former Mossad chief Meir Dagan dies at 71

Meir Dagan led the Israeli intelligence service from 2002 to 2011 and had been a recent critic of PM Netanyahu.

    Israeli former Mossad chief Meir Dagan dies at 71
    Under Dagan's leadership, the spy agency reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists [EPA]

    Meir Dagan, the former longtime chief of Israel's intelligence service, Mossad, has died of cancer at the age of 71, the Israeli prime minister's office said.

    "The Mossad announces that former Mossad Director Meir Dagan passed away this morning," the office said in a statement published on Thursday.

    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.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.