Authors: Eric Meyer
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Military, #Spies & Politics, #Assassinations, #Terrorism, #Crime, #Mystery, #Thriller, #War & Military, #Thrillers
ECHO SIX: BLACK OPS 5
By Eric Meyer
Copyright © 2013 Eric Meyer
Published by Swordworks Books
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Cairo – The First Day
The dusty street was perfect for their needs. A few people milled around the bazaars, inspecting food for dinner. Looking for the odd bargain, perhaps. The familiar stench of the souk wafted into his nostrils. Spices, pungent scents, all of it overlaid with the familiar tang of sweat and sewage. He smiled to himself; it was a comforting odor, the odor of home. Lights were going on inside the buildings, for it was already late evening. Not so late that the sidewalks had emptied, or the traffic thinned out, yet dark enough to cloak their activities from a casual watcher; Like a watcher from the SSI, the Egyptian State Security Investigations Service, part of the Ministry of the Interior. With more than a hundred thousand agents, they were everywhere. Watching the faithful.
Waiting to pounce on the unwary. Guilty or innocent, it made no difference to the torturers of the Ministry of the Interior. It was best to keep below their radar, especially now.
Yet he saw no sign of any surveillance. Neither was there any indication the people in the modern, but slightly decrepit building opposite had noticed them; the building that housed the enemy, the Jews. He was familiar with this part of the city; it was by no means his first visit. He'd passed the place many times, taken photographs, and made diagrams of both the building and the surrounding streets. His devoted followers would expect nothing less of him. They all knew an attack of such importance as this required first class preparation. Detailed reconnaissance was no less vital than the ferocity with which they would conduct the assault. He smiled to himself as he recalled the lessons drummed into him, over and over again.
‘Surprise and overwhelming force’, his teacher had explained to him, as they fought in the dirty, garbage-strewn streets of Ramallah. He smiled. Without a doubt, he had been fortunate to hone his skills at the hands of a master; Yasser Arafat, short, squat, and deadly, yet for all his diminutive size, the revered father of the Palestinian nation. In his early days, Arafat was a renowned fighter and warlord, a hero and an inspiration to his people, and deadly to his enemies, the Jews. A hundred times Arafat had instilled into his young pupil, Ibrahim Abbas, the necessity of leaving nothing to chance when planning an attack. And Ibrahim had listened to the words of wisdom. Even now, after all these years, he’d never forgotten.
"The Hebrews are very clever, my young friend, clever and cunning. The only way we can beat them is by outthinking them, and that means first class planning and intelligence. They always come first. Then you hit them where they are weakest, and spill their blood until it runs in torrents. But first, planning and intelligence.”
His mentor had been right. It was shameful his people had turned on him and stabbed him in the back, administering poison to end his long reign. Still, it was the Islamic way, to assassinate your leader to take his job, but not just the Muslims. Wasn’t it the Roman, Julius Caesar, who met the same fate two thousand years ago? Slaughtered by those men closest to him. He cautioned himself to remember the lessons of history, and not trust his near associates. Jews, some Palestinians, so many enemies, so many people to kill. And he would kill them, sooner or later, all of them. It was his destiny, and his men expected no less.
Since he'd fought his way up through the ranks of the movement, Ibrahim Abbas was counted amongst the more successful of the Palestinian commanders. With good reason, for unlike others he'd come up through the ranks with, he’d managed to stay alive. Abbas had avoided the deadly traps the Jews set for their enemies, as well as those from so-called ‘friends’.
But he’d done more than merely survive. The number of bloody bodies he’d left in his wake was the measure of his success, and there were plenty of them, killings that had earned him the respect of his men. Now, they feared him.
It wasn't just Arafat's tactics he’d learned. His facial features resembled those of his famous mentor, and he’d worked hard to adopt the same kind of charisma. He’d developed and enhanced the resemblance with a short, scraggy beard, just like his hero, and he’d adopted the same Palestinian headgear, the Keffiyeh. His lips were thick, and he'd spent time practicing the trademark Arafat thick-lipped sneer. Abbas even took to wearing military uniform, similar, though not identical to Arafat’s, but not today, not in the center of Cairo. To blend in, he wore a simple peasant’s galabeya, stained and filthy, like so many on the street. But he kept his Keffiyeh.
He was still puzzled about the reasoning behind this operation. His Syrian brothers had asked for his help, and he’d agreed at once; after all, the Israeli Embassy was an iconic target. Killing Jews would be a big morale booster for his people. Except for one man, who he’d been told to keep alive at all costs. A man they said could change the course of their struggle. They claimed this person possessed the knowledge inside his head to make the dream of Arab hegemony in the Middle East a reality. He’d agreed to capture the man, and deliver him to his Syrian brothers, if that was their wish. Although he doubted a single man could make that much of a difference. His mind turned to the rewards he would earn this for this day’s work. Money and weapons for the movement, as they were always in short supply; and for him personally, a little bonus.
That was the leader’s right, a beach side villa in the Lebanon, where he could retire in comfort and luxury.
Who can deny me such a trifle, haven't I earned it?
He regarded each of his men in turn and nodded to himself, satisfied. They were all eager, trained, and well armed for what was to come. Then he glanced across the street to the drab building, it looked like an ordinary office or apartment block. Except for the small brass plaque screwed to the wall outside the fortified front door, the first indication of its importance; the Embassy of the State of Israel, the Jews who had returned in tens of thousands to steal the homeland of the Palestinians.
In seven days, it would be the anniversary of 'Al Naqba'. The Catastrophe. The date was the 15th of May 1948, the day when the United Nations, under the influence of their treacherous Jew masters, condemned the Palestinians to exile and created the State of Israel.
On Palestinian lands, no less!
Since that terrible day, his brother Arabs had made many attempts to take back what was rightfully theirs, and they were still fighting. Everyday, the glorious martyrs of Ramallah and Gaza fought to stem the tide of the Zionist oppressors. True, their efforts so far had met with little success. In fact, all they’d earned was defeat after defeat, for Israel today occupied even more land than had been given them in 1948.
Today would mark the turning of the tide. The first day of their successful campaign to rid their homeland of the Jews. His fighters would storm the Embassy, which would signal the start. And tomorrow, their allies, the Syrians, would possess the weapon that would give them everything they lacked to complete their glorious quest. All they needed was the knowledge locked inside the head of one man, the man they had to protect. He looked again at his men, all bearded, except one. He could sense their impatience, for the time was near. He turned to the youngest of them, the man without a beard. He was no man, but a mere boy. His face was smooth, with clear, olive skin, his hair cut in the latest young fashion, and his dark brown eyes shining with youthful enthusiasm. He also looked younger than his fifteen years, which made him vital to their mission.
"Mohammed, you are about to strike a historic blow for the Palestinian cause. Our people will regain their lands and be forever in your debt. Your name will go down in history as a hero of the struggle."
The young man nodded gratefully. He’d endured endless taunts from his older comrades for the lack of a ‘Beard of the Prophet’. Unlike the other men, his clothes were clean. The task he was about to undertake was too sacred for anything less than the purity of clean garments. All of them were white, the color of death.
"I think of nothing else, Ibrahim. I long for the day when our people can return to our sacred soil." He hesitated and looked puzzled. "Some men say the land that is Palestine belonged to Jordan before it was taken by the Jews as their ancestral homeland. They say it never belonged to us Palestinians. Is it true?"
Ibrahim Abbas glared at the boy, irritated by his impertinence. "It is our land, Mohammed. You ask too many questions. Make sure you are ready for your sacred task. Nothing else matters."
The boy was stiff and tense, sweating profusely. It was a hot day, and just the voluminous, long white cotton jacket he wore over his robe would have been enough for him to overheat. But what made it worse was what he wore underneath the jacket, a carefully sewn, white canvas waistcoat. The garment was fashioned with numerous pockets, each one an exact fit for a block of C4 explosive. The blocks were connected to each other with wires, and a final wire fed through the sleeve of his oversized jacket to the detonator he held in his hand. Mohammed's task today was to use his youth and innocence to allow him to approach the main door of the Embassy. He would then detonate his charges, destroy the door, and slaughter the Israeli guards. His parents and family back in Gaza were already proud, anticipating their son's rich rewards after his martyrdom. He would spend eternity surrounded by virgins and every manner of comfort. The family would also garner rich rewards, but they would be in this life. The pension paid to a martyr's family was more than handsome, especially in a country so impoverished as Gaza.
"I know what to do. We’ve been over it many times."
Ibrahim noted the quiver in the young man's voice. He'd been well prepared, and given a mild hallucinogenic to encourage him to think of his glorious afterlife. Even so, he cautioned himself to watch the boy’s every step. Despite his devout intentions, he may change his mind at the last moment. It would do him no good. Ibrahim had a backup radio detonator in his pocket. Provided Mohammed was close enough to take out the guards on the door, he would detonate if the boy faltered. The bomb vest would explode by remote command. One way or the other, Mohammed would today find himself in Paradise.
"That's good. Very good." He checked his wristwatch. "It is time to begin. May Allah cast his blessings on us all. Abdul, stand ready with the RPG."
His lieutenant, Abdul Bashar, another young man nodded, and like Mohammed, Abdul had been chosen because of his youthful appearance. Although sixteen years old, many people thought he looked ten or eleven. It had proven useful in the past, allowing him to access areas where an adult would be viewed with great suspicion. Today, his job was to fire the missile out of the window and take out the main door, should it survive Mohammed’s bomb. Then he'd join the main attack, using the Makarov pistol he had hidden inside his robes. Ibrahim knew the building would be well defended, even after the first devastating attack. But they were prepared, and most of them were armed with Russian made AK-47s. The weapon the glorious Sheikh Osama bin Laden had carried when he ignited the Islamic world to rise up and attack the West. It was time to show the infidels the true face of Islam. He made a last check through the window, but it looked clear.
"It is time. Mohammed, go now, with my blessing."
A man slid the bolt aside and opened the door enough for Mohammed to slip outside. The prospective martyr didn't look back, a good sign. Each man cocked his rifle, and the metallic clatter of the slides echoed around the room. Abdul took up station at the window and aimed his missile to point at the building opposite. Ibrahim took a final look around. They were ready. It was up to Mohammed to make the first move. He went to the window and stood next to Abdul, peering out. The young martyr was walking straight toward the Embassy, but he was slow, much too slow. His thick clothes made him stand out from people in the street, who all wore light, cool clothing. Except for the women, of course, but they were irrelevant.
He got closer to the main door, step-by-step, meter-by-meter.
Is he slowing, faltering? Yes, he is. Damn!
Ibrahim took out the remote detonator. Abdul glanced across at it and then looked away without comment. They all knew it was necessary. Ibrahim looked again, was he near enough? No, another five meters at least, otherwise the bomb would be wasted on ignorant, useless Egyptian civilians. The boy stopped, then started again; another faltering step forward. There were two guards in view, and now one of them spotted the threat and went to draw his weapon. He had to detonate the bomb now! Otherwise, the Israeli gunfire may damage the trigger mechanism. Ibrahim hit the remote button.