A report by the US media outlet BuzzFeed revealed that the United Arab Emirates has been behind the assassinations of Yemeni political figures and clerics in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, carried out by American mercenaries who were former soldiers in the US military before joining an Israeli security company for mercenaries, which the UAE contracted with to liquidate opposition figures in Yemen, especially in the southern governorates.
The report included confessions of the leaders among the American assassins who were brought by the UAE to Aden after contracting with the Israeli company “Spear”, The leaders are ”Isaac Gilmore” and “Abraham Golan”, who is the founder of the company.
According to the investigation based on Gilmore and Golan, the American assassination team in Yemen’s Aden is named Spear Operations Group.
Gilmore said the deal, which led to their entry into Aden, was held during a lunch meeting in Abu Dhabi at an Italian restaurant in the officers’ club within the Emirati military base. Mohammed Dahlan, who was one of the leaders of the Palestinian Fatah movement before his escape to the UAE to become the security adviser to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, was the one in charge of the bargain.
Golan said the agreement was on a specific mission to destroy the reform party (Islah party) and kill its leaders, where Emiratis told them that the Islah party was a political branch of a terrorist organization. After the agreement, Golan and Gilmore went on forming a team made up of highly skilled American mercenaries.
Dahlan and the UAE government signed the agreement, Gulan and Gilmore said, and the Spear Operations Group began its work.
By the end of 2015, Golan, who led the operation, and Gilmore, had assembled a team of dozens of men. Three of them were Special US veterans, and most of the rest were former French foreign troops, who were cheaper: only about $ 10,000 a month, as Gilmore remembers, which is less than half of what the US mercenaries were paid according to Golan and Gilmore.
The team was then transferred by UAE air force plane to a military base at Assab, Eritrea before sending them to Aden. An Emirati officer in uniform presented them with a list of 23 cards containing 23 names and 23 faces. Each card contains information about the role of the person in Yemeni politics, where some of them were members of the reform part(Islah), others were clerics and foreign terrorists, Gilmore said, but he admitted he could not be sure.
Gilmore also said he was working on the assassination models that follow the Israel killing program, which has been underway since the establishment of the Israeli state.
Interestingly, however, Golan and his team refuse to be referred as an assassination squad, saying the UAE has given them a group of names unrelated to the reform party or terrorist groups to assassinate them; nevertheless, the team refused.
The most interesting thing in Golan’s speech is the reference to the involvement of the United States in the selection of targets, where he said that his team told the UAE that they will not carry out operations that harm the interests of the United States, adding that after the UAE gives the names of the characters to be assassinated, the team makes sure that this will not harm America and it takes a week or two to be sure, which indicates that this team is contacting a US official to take permission to perform or cancel tasks.
The Attempt in Killing Local Leader of the Islah Party
Although Golan and Gilmore have been known for many assassinations in Aden, the mission mainly focused on a single case, which was on December 29, 2015, the assassination of a member of the Congressmen and the local leader of the Islah Party in Aden, Anssaf Ali Mayo.
Gilmore tells the beginning of the operation in targeting one of the leaders of the Islah Party in Aden, Mayo, saying they used UAE intelligence sources to provide information about the lifestyle and movements of the reformist leader, including the house where he lives, the mosque where he prays at and the markets he frequently visits.
In conjunction with New Year’s Day, the assassinations team held a party, exchanged whiskey cups, discussed the plan to assassinate the Islahi party leader and whether it would be carried out through sniper or a bomb attack. There were six or five options for implementation, Gilmore said.
After observing the headquarters of the Reform Party, they decided that the implementation would be through a bombing operation. After the plan was set, Gilmore and his friends shredded the papers on which they wrote the plan in and left no evidence of their work. At that time, they knew that the head of the reform, Mayo, was in his office (the headquarters of the Islah party) and was leading a large meeting.
After that, the team prepared and took their weapons, bombs and other military equipment and wore various military uniforms to begin the attack on the headquarters of the Islah party.
Before the arrival of the mercenary team to the front door, a four-wheel-drive truck loaded with explosives, that was supposed to kill Mayo, was shot by one of the guards at the headquarters.
At that time, a drone was conceiving the operation but what happened was the mercenaries were subjected to gunfire and not vice versa.
Gilmore said he had shot a person in the street, but his gun got jammed. He said he was not sure who firing at them. In any case, the mercenaries who carried the explosives into the building continued despite the noise they already made- for a full 20 seconds as the video shows.
When the mercenaries team fled towards the UAE armored vehicles, the explosive device exploded at the gate of the building, followed by another bomb. The mercenaries then returned to Emirates camp base, and a source was received saying that the operation had succeeded.
Then there was a problem with Mohammed Dahlan, the security adviser of Mohammed bin Zayed, because of doubts about the fate of the reforemist leader because his death was not confirmed. Mayo disappeared and no one has seen him ever since.
The reform (Islah) party did not announce the death of Mayo, as happened when other members after they were assassinated. The reason, said a spokesman for the Islah party in a telephone interview, is that Mayo is alive – he left the building 10 minutes before the attack and by July he has been living in Saudi Arabia. No one, as the spokesman said, died in the mercenary attack.
Golan admits that the operation failed to kill the local leader of the Islah party, but at least he was neutralized for a long time as long as he disappeared from the scene. In addition, that process was the beginning of a long series of assassinations.
After a while, Golan did not continue in the team and when he was presented with the names of some of the personalities who were assassinated in Aden after his departure, he confirmed that many of those names were on the list of assassinations that the UAE gave to the team, which means that the team had many other successful operations.