A special operation of the KGB: how a liberated captured in Beirut, diplomats of the USSR

Another 07/01/20 special Operation of the KGB: how a liberated captured in Beirut, diplomats of the USSR

September 30, 1985, in Beirut near the Soviet Embassy were cut in a machine with the KGB resident in Lebanon Vladimir Spirin and Valery Myricom. Unidentified gunmen seized their prisoner. In the same moment on the other side of town was also seized the car with a consular officer Arkady Katkov and Embassy doctor Nikolai Svirskii. While Katkov was shot in the leg. The unexpected attack was lifted on ears all the intelligence agencies of the USSR: the release of the hostages demanded of the month extraordinary efforts of the KGB.

In 2001, Colonel SVR in resignation Yury Perfilyev (member of the operation to free the hostages) told in his memoirs and in an interview with the magazine “Ogonek” about the events of 1985, first in the KGB believed that there was a simple robbery – Soviet diplomatic establishments have already lost at the time a lot of cars just stolen. Before anything like with Soviet citizens in Lebanon did not happen, but it soon became clear that there was a hostage situation.

the Situation was unexpected, as the USSR, with anyone in Lebanon do not conflict so that its representatives could capture. It’s the Americans as enemies of Islam are often captured and killed in the region, and Russian – not yet. It turned out, the terrorists belonged to a small and previously unknown group “the forces of Khalid bin al-Waleed.” Soon they put forward the conditions for the release of the hostages: Russian – the enemies of Islam and should influence its ally Syria. Syrian troops just fired offensive on Hezbollah – a Shiite terrorist organization that seeks to create in Lebanon a Muslim state (like Iran). The Syrians could and was going to completely destroy the forces of Hezbollah in Tripoli and Beirut. The terrorists demanded the cessation of the attacks of the Syrians, under pressure from Moscow, as well as the elimination of the Soviet Embassy in Lebanon. In the opposite case.AE they promised to kill the hostages and storm the Embassy building. Only the fulfillment of these requirements could save the terrorists in Lebanon from destruction.

the Soviet intelligence services had for several days to be extremely hard work to set specific perpetrators of the hostage-taking. And they found – young Palestinians who had collaborated with Hezbollah. Group commander named Imad mughniyeh. While the KGB officers tried to negotiate the release and find out all the circumstances of the case, the terrorists shot one of the hostages – wounded Arkady Katkov. Imad Mughniyah was personally involved in this execution. This is despite the fact that Moscow started to fulfill their requirements: managed to persuade the Syrians to stop the offensive in the North of Lebanon. Personally, Gorbachev asked the President of Syria Hafez al-Assad. But now it has become clear that the implementation of the requirements will not force the militants to release the hostages, therefore, negotiations with them to useless and need a hard power measures.

as the soldiers themselves of the KGB to carry out a special operation in Lebanon could not (it could cause an international scandal), they have resorted to the help of allies – the Lebanese Druze (at that time it was one of the strongest armed groups in civil war torn Lebanon). Druses defended the Soviet Embassy for its strong squad (which included five tanks), and promised by the terrorists the assault never happened. Then one of the kidnappers Druze managed to grab. The KGB found out they’re keeping the hostages, but to storm the building was too risky: the terrorists could shoot hostages.

According to one of walking in a media release, the KGB officers found and killed the brother of Imad mughniyeh, and then promised to deal with other members of his family, if the hostages are not released. But Colonel Yuri perfilev claimed that they were simply killed in the course of the next skirmishes in Beirut (the city’s always clashed with weapons), and Imad mughniyeh have thought that the KGB began thus to deal with the kidnappers. To deny speculation mughniyeh, the Soviet side did not. Was the KGB behind these killings, so far it is impossible to say. Anyway, mughniyeh in this story was only a contractor and could not decide the fate of the hostages, so it is quite likely that the KGB had no reason to kill his relatives.

the Hostages had been in captivity for almost a month when, on 28 October 1985, resident of the KGB met with Sheikh Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hezbollah, which, according to the findings, gave his blessing to the capture of Soviet citizens. According to Perfiliev, at the meeting the Sheikh hinted that the patience of the USSR not endlessly and “Hezbollah” and Iran may be very sorry if hostage something happens. In the end, it may be some kind of error when launching some missiles, and it accidentally falls on the Shrine of Muslims – the Iranian city of Qom. The answer of the Shaykh was: “I think everything will be okay.”

And on 30 October, three hostages were released and on their feet came to the Soviet Embassy. So ended the negotiations with the terrorists, which sometimes call to mind only threats.

Konstantin Dmitriev

© Russian Seven

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