TEL AVIV, Israeli -- Former Prime Minister Golda Meir once passed by a chance to assassinate the mastermind of the Munich Olypmics massacre for fear innocent bystanders would be killed in the operation, a new book reveals.
'The Quest for the Red Prince,' written by Israeli journalist Eitan Haber and Knesset member Michael Ben-Zohar, traces the long hunt for Hassan Ali Salameh, a Palestinian playboy accused of coordinating the slaying of 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olypmics.
The book said Israeli intelligence once had a chance to kill Salameh by blowing up a Beirut sauna where he was lounging, but Meir rejected the plan because it endangered bystanders.
Salamen eventually was killed in a remote-controlled explosion when his car passed a car packed with dynamite on a Beirut street in January 1979.
According to the book, Meir and former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan issued a death verdict against the flamboyant Palestinian, as well as other terrorist leaders.
Commando agents were dispatched throughout the world to hunt down and kill the Black September terrorists who carried out the Lydda airport massacre, plane hijackings and the slaying of the Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics.
In Rome, Paris, Cyprus and Athens, the Palestinians fell one by one, the book says.
In Beirut, agents disguised as hippies killed three Black September leaders in their own beds. In Paris, Black September officer Mohommad Boudia was cut down despite his constant disguise as a woman.
Seven years after Munich, only Salameh was left. At first, Mrs. Meir called off a plan to kill Salameh in a Beirut sauna where he kept in shape.
The cat-and-mouse hunt ended when the car stuffed withdynamite was detonated by remote control as Salameh approached in his vehi:le, the book says.