KIDON: Mossad’s Tip of the Spear

Kidon - Israel Mossad's most secretive unit
KIDON is considered as the most secretive unit within the Israeli Mossad (Photo: Illustration)

Mossad’s Kidon, one of the most capable and lethal special ops units on the face of the planet, suspected of being behind several successful assassination campaigns in Israel history. It is also one of the most secretive special operations units in the world.

History

Kidon is a group with the Mossad (the Institute in Hebrew) the latter of the two was formed on December 13, 1949, to protect the newly formed Jewish state and all its citizens. Initially, Mossad was an information hub where the police and intelligence forces shared their information, but the near immediate violence that ensued with the Palestinians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians rapidly transformed this “institute of coordination” in essence into this very capable and tenacious organization that we see today that has increased its scope of operations considerably since 1949.

Mossad's agents from Tactical unit transferring one of the suspected terrorist
The secret of Mossad’s success lies in their determination and secrecy of operations. (Photo: XY)

While no one will talk on the exact date that Kidon (Hebrew: כידון‎, bayonet or “tip of the spear”) formerly the Caesarea unit was founded. It’s probable to be sometime in the mid-1960s when there was a real surge of intelligence-related activities as the cold war was well under way. Kidon is apparently founded with the sole objective of assassinations on high-value targets, very little is known about how they operate (so please excuse the lack of verifiable information) its estimated that there are fewer than 75 operatives.

Members of the secret KIDON unit are allegedly connected to the famous Operation Orchard, carried out in 2007 when Israeli jet planes bombed the Syrian nuclear reactor.

Operation Orchard: Bombin of the Syrian Nuclear Reactor before and after the strike photo of Syrian reactor
Operation Orchard: A still frame taken from video material released on March 21, 2018 shows a combination image of what the Israeli military describes is before and after an Israeli air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site near Deir al-Zor on Sept 6, 2007. (Photo: Reuters)

Modus operandi

Apparently these 4 men (woman) cells operate deep in denied, occupied, hostile territory often for long periods of time, anywhere from months to years. Also, they have been known to commit assassinations/intelligence gathering in friendly foreign countries similar to operation wrath of god.

This was the assassination campaign mossad launched and Kidon carried out against the planners and material supporters of the Munich massacre which left 11 israeli olympic athletes dead and a total of 20-40 PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) or Black September members dead depending on which stories you believe.

It would seem years of experience involving either intelligence or special operations or both (along with an outstanding record), though as we have seen in other instances involving intelligence community-based operations it is not always necessity expertise seem to rule the requisites in the end.

These recruits may then spend up to 2 years training in the Negev desert and are then assigned to their respective units its said not many agents last more than a couple years give the nature of the business they conduct.

Hit team

There are many support units and operatives (Mossad or alt. Intelligence organization) for any mission, but the hit team seems to be structured similarly like this:

  1. reconnaissance: locates the target learns the routine and probably build a spot map. 2.logistics: what route will they use? what vehicle, and where will they make the intercept at?
  2. logistics: what route will they use? what vehicle, and where will they make the intercept at?
  3. assistance: this man’s job is basically to drive and, if necessary, carry out immediate action type assaults, withdraws, etc.
  4. assassin: (should be self explanitory) most times its a magnetic or sticky bomb but conventional weapons are still used regularly as the dynamics of the misson require.

Kidon vs. Iran

Most recently their presence (as well as the CIA’s) in Iran has been considerably effective in stunting the growth of the current Iranian nuclear programs and particularly lethal for nuclear scientists working for the state. So remember next time a iranian scientist dies in a ambush, kidon was undoubtedly involved in some manner.

In recent years Azerbaijan has become a focal staging point for not only Kidon but Mossad in general because of its proximity and accessibility to Iran, also the convenience of having Azeri security forces deter the MISIRI (Ministry of Iranian intelligence) operatives that may be conducting their own intel. gathering /counter intel tasks there. Its suggested, (but to what extent only a few know for certain) that Kidon works directly with the MEK (mujahideen) to destabilize Iranian training.

Funding, material support are almost guaranteed to be in the scope of cooperation also to be noted that Seymour Hersh (pulitzer prize recipient (and) a journalist published articles about J.S.O.C training MEK operatives in a secret location in Nevada from 2005-2009 (the U.S. allocated 400 mils. To “destabilization” of Iran in 2007 this figure is probaly considerably higher) on everything from subversion and comms interception to small unit tactics and arms training.

So if the U.S. intelligence and special ops communities do that for this organization one could only imagine what Mossad particularly Kidon may do in tandem or in support of the MEK. With so much recent instability occuring on multiple fronts (some of which are disputed and U.N. intervention is a necessity) it seems very unlikely that Kidon would not be sitting idly by in the shadows.

Selection and training

Taking into account the nature of this unit, little is known about their selection and training. However, unconfirmed speculations claim that they only accept individuals from other Israeli special operations units, including the Duvdevdan and Sayeret Matkal.

Sayeret Matkal operators training at undisclosed location
Sayeret Matkal operators training at undisclosed location (Photo: IDF)
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