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Authors: Antony Trew

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Hanna Nasour heard a dull thud to her right, aimed the torch through the drizzle of rain and switched it on and off. In that brief instant of illumination she saw the two men, the nearest heavy and bearded; to his right, kneeling, a slimmer man whose automatic was pointing at her. She threw herself sideways, saw the spurts of flame, heard the
phut-phut
of the silencer. She fired three times, rose to her feet and made a dash for the coal shed. As she ran she heard shots lower down the passageway. They must be Souref’s she decided; the others were using silencers.

She reached the end of the yard, felt for the doorway to the shed – the door had long-since gone – slipped through and squeezed herself into the nearest corner. She would have the edge there on anyone coming in after her.

There were no warning steps, just the sound of his laboured breathing and the scuffle of hands on the
cedarwood
planking. He began to vomit and she realized she’d wounded him. But was it him, or was it Souref? She felt sudden panic, controlled it, moved into the doorway, aimed the torch and switched on. It
was
the slim man. He was leaning forward, supporting himself with two hands against the planking of the shed, his face pressed to it, his body sagging, the automatic at his feet. She held the
torch-beam
steady, aimed her pistol at his back. Slowly his head came round and he looked at her with glassy eyes. A trickle of blood from his mouth formed globules under his chin before dripping away.

She pushed the pistol back into the shoulder-holster, drew a knife and stabbed him in the neck. He grunted and fell.
She picked up his automatic and threw it into the coal-shed.

 

When Moynihan and Barrett heard the shots in 39’s
passageway
they assumed it was the Palestinians because the Israelis’ guns had silencers. Using a chair for a step and wearing respirators, the two Special Branch men went over the wall at a point opposite 39’s back door.

Moynihan sprinted through the open doorway, gun in one hand, torch in the other. Barrett followed close at his heels. Once inside it was apparent that neither guns nor torches were necessary. The red light of the camping torch, dim though it was, showed all there was to be seen: Ahmad Daab slumped over a table, head resting on his arms, his cheek on the black firing-switch. Near him, Najib Hamadeh lay curled, foetal-like, on the floor.

In the corner behind the stock-room door Moynihan saw the bale of carpets. Ascher and Souref were sitting side by side, their backs against it. Blood dripped from wounds in their faces and necks, and saturated their clothing. Moynihan shook his head. ‘Give me the R/T, Jim.’

Barrett opened his jacket, took the leather strap from his neck, and handed the walkie-talkie to the inspector.

Moynihan spoke into the mike. ‘Whisky Bravo Five calling Whisky Bravo One.’ His voice was wheezy from recent exertion.

The command vehicle responded at once. ‘Go ahead, Whisky Bravo Five.’

‘Give me the Super,’ said Moynihan.

‘Will do. Stand by.’

Soon afterwards the speaker crackled and Dugald McGann’s deep voice came on the air. ‘Go ahead, Whisky Bravo Five.’

‘We’re inside at Thirty-Nine, sir. Firing switch is …’

A shot rang out and Moynihan’s voice trailed away as he slumped on to the desk behind him.

Hanna Nasour stood in the doorway, wild-eyed, gun in hand. As she ran towards the firing switch, two more shots
sounded in quick succession. She screamed, put out a hand, touched the wall and slid slowly to the floor as if she were performing some gymnastic feat in slow time.

Barratt stood at the stock-room door, a thin wisp of smoke spiralling from the barrel of his .38 Enfield. He moved swiftly to where the girl lay, turned her on her back with his foot, knelt down and felt her heart. Next he went to where Moynihan lay across a desk still clasping the R/T set, his eyes staring at the ceiling. Barrett felt the inspector’s heart, examined the eyes, and took the R/T set from his hands. He pressed the speak-button and asked for the Chief
Superintendent.
Dugald McGann answered at once. ‘We heard shots,’ he said. ‘What’s going on there.’

‘Okay now, Chief.’ Barrett was breathing heavily. ‘No more resistance. Firing-switch still locked. Timing device presumably on stream. Suggest you send boffins over double quick. And an ambulance.’

‘What are the casualties?’

‘Two gassed. Four dead. One missing.’

‘Christ! Who are they?’

‘Moynihan and Ascher killed.’ Barrett was having
difficulty
with his voice. ‘Levi missing. Probably wounded or killed.’

McGann’s voice softened. ‘And their lot, laddie?’

‘Hanna Nasour and Souref killed, Hamadeh and Daab gassed.’

There was a pause at the command vehicle end. Then the Chief Superintedent’s reply, ‘Get your respirator on again, Barrett. You don’t sound too good. We’re coming over right away. The Spender Street lot are listening. They’ll reach you first.’

Barrett said, ‘Roger, Bravo One.’ He released the
speak-button
and sat down at the desk. ‘My God,’ he said, holding his head in his hands. ‘What a bloody awful business.’

 

She sat in a corner, the two men watching her uneasily.

Kagan went across and touched her shoulder. ‘No point
in your coming with us, Ruth. Only upset you more.’

She pushed his hand away, stood up, took the raincoat from the hook beside the door. She pulled it on with slow, laborious movements. ‘Of course I’m coming.’ Her voice was strained but she was dry-eyed. They went down the stairs in darkness and she allowed herself a few unnoticed tears. Oh God, she thought, why him?

It was cold and dark outside where the trench diggers were still busy in the rain, the clamour of their jack-hammers shattering the silence of early morning and masking the sound of water which continued to run down the gutters in a steady stream until it disappeared into the drain at the foot of Spender Street.

TWO HOURS TO DARKNESS

SMOKE ISLAND

THE SEA BREAK

THE WHITE SCHOONER

TOWARDS THE TAMARIND TREES

THE MOONRAKER MUTINY

KLEBER’S CONVOY

THE ZHUKOV BRIEFING

© Antony Trew 1976
First published in Great Britain 1976
This ebook edition 2012

ISBN 978 0 7090 9644 3 (epub)
ISBN 978 0 7090 9645 0 (mobi)
ISBN 978 0 7090 9646 7 (pdf)
ISBN 978 0 7090 7368 0 (print)

Robert Hale Limited
Clerkenwell House
Clerkenwell Green
London EC1R 0HT

www.halebooks.com

The right of Antony Trew to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

BOOK: Ultimatum
12.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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