Americans are fed up since 9-11 and want to strike back after recent attacks in the U.S. and abroad.
9-11 Avenged tells how a group decides to do just that by hunting one of the most deadly al-Qaeda terrorists still at large. However, they don’t realize they’re not the only ones tracking him and simultaneous attacks cause havoc for all involved.
Not wanting to draw unnecessary attention, al-Sabah ordered the lights be cut but the vehicles following the SWAT van didn’t buy that ploy. Having announced his intentions to the radio teams, two were now near the entrance to the resort while the third raced to catch up. Getting on the radio, al-Sabah asked the trailing team’s position and learned they were only a block north of the SWAT team’s van. Hearing this, the chief inspector ordered them to block oncoming traffic once the tactical van passed, even if it meant crashing into oncoming traffic. The driver of the radio van couldn’t believe it and protested but al-Sabah cut off his objection by telling the man to block traffic no matter the danger to life and limb. Engaging their siren and lights, the driver of the radio van watched as the SWAT vehicle approached and passed and then did as instructed. Most of the cars trailing the speeding SWAT vehicle weren’t moving as fast, but the first car in the procession noticed too late to avoid the new obstacle but managed to jam on his brakes. The anti-lock brakes in the Porsche never engaged because the driver tried to bring the sports car to a controlled stop instead of just jamming his foot down on the pedal. The driver, an Italian with a beautiful woman in the front seat with him, managed to swerve the car at the last instance, just enough to glance it off the rear quarter of the radio van. However, the resulting crash was enough to cause a major traffic tie up.
The men inside the van braced for the impact and although they would all be sore the next day none suffered any major injuries. Radioing the chief inspector, he acknowledged their sacrifice and thanked them for doing as they were told. Pulling into the parking lot of the public beach just across the narrow channel from the resort, the driver handed al-Sabah a pair of night vision goggles to help him see through the dense fog. While concentrating on the buildings in the background, everything seemed as normal as could be. There were a few areas of intense light from ongoing parties but no signs of a battle taking place. Wondering if the radio truck had really heard shots fired, al-Sabah put down the goggles and dismounted the van as the other two radio trucks pulled up from behind to confer with their commander. The three vehicles stopped close to each other and the members exited to stretch their legs. As the radio teams disembarked their smaller vans, they were handed automatic weapons as al-Sabah ordered everyone to be ready to assault the resort. Wanting to be sure about what the second radio van team had heard, al-Sabah confronted them and asked, “Are you sure you heard gunfire?”
Answering for his team, their leader said, “Yes sir. There were some fireworks being set off nearby but it was definitely gunfire and not pyrotechnics.”
“You’re absolutely certain?” asked the chief inspector.
All three men nodding, their leader spoke once again, “Yes sir, we all heard it.”
Hearing that, al-Sabah started pointing out to his men just exactly what he wanted them to do and how they would go about securing the area. As he and the SWAT team leader discussed the assault on the property, al-Sabah mentioned how much he liked this site since the narrow causeway was the only way on or off the tiny peninsula. The leader of the SWAT team pointed out they would be fools for leaving themselves no second avenue of escape and assumed they must own one of the boats. Thinking that, the SWAT leader informed al-Sabah that a team should be tasked to prevent anyone from departing the marina before the rest could secure the area. Al-Sabah agreed but didn’t like the thought of sending men into the channel since he didn’t know the depth of the water and was unsure of the current. Shaking his head, the SWAT team leader laughed and told his commander the van was equipped with everything they’d need, including a self-inflating, rubber raft. Not realizing how well-equipped his team was, he ordered three of his men to man the raft across the channel once they were ready to storm the front gate. The SWAT leader suggested the three men leave prior to that since paddling across the channel might be dangerous and he wanted them in place in case they were needed to cover the rest of the team. Once again al-Sabah stood corrected and was happy for the tactical advice. With that, the team leader ordered the raft removed from the van and inflated, and then picked out his three best men. Their primary purpose was to prevent a nautical escape.
With that decided the three men carried the inflatable raft and its two paddles down the slope to the water’s edge and then returned for their weapons. Giving his men final instructions, the SWAT leader looked into the night sky and could make out some of the brighter stars. Noting that the fog was beginning to clear, he warned his men to be careful. His men confidently reassured their leader they wouldn’t be observed and stated it was a perfect night for a stealthy approach on an unsuspecting target. Inspector al-Sabah informed them that if gunshots had already been fired then they better not assume the opposition was unprepared for an assault. That brought them back to reality and forced them to reassess their abilities. Arrogance was a good thing going into battle, thought al-Sabah, but faith in one’s abilities often got superior forces routed on the battlefield. With that in mind, al-Sabah and the SWAT chief saluted their men and sent them to the boat, hoping they’d all survive the night and return to tell of a glorious victory against the foes of the kingdom.
“It looks as if they’re getting ready to come out now,” said the sergeant leading the contingent of Israeli commandoes in the backyard of unit 76.
The team guarding the front side of the building heard the message and kept vigil for other al-Qaeda security forces. It was also heard by Col. Cohen and Major Reuben offshore and Cohen immediately warned them to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. As he did, the word came from below that they had just recovered the first Zodiac with an injured American who needed medical attention. Major Reuben looked at the colonel and told him he’d take care of it and had the communications officer tell the ship’s doctor to get to the deck immediately. Cohen let Reuben know that as soon as the boat was unloaded he wanted it turned around and back to the beach so it could recover the rest of the team. Reuben nodded, took off down the flight of steps and then down the narrow hallway leading aft to the recovery deck. As he got there he could see the nearly lifeless body of Sgt. Harry Maguire being hoisted from the rubber boat and deposited on the deck. The doctor arrived only seconds later expecting to see a man injured in a firefight and was prepared to deal with that but was surprised to find no signs of trauma and asked what was wrong with the man. The raft’s pilot answered that they feared he suffered a heart attack. Hearing that, the doctor went to work on the man and Reuben gave the order to the raft driver to get back to shore as quickly and quietly as possible. Nodding his head, the man pushed off, barely hit the reverse throttle so he could swing it clear of the larger ship and then sped off into the night. Looking around him, Reuben could see the wisps of clouds dissipating and didn’t like losing the advantage they enjoyed, hoping the fog would last long enough for all the men to be recovered. Leaving Maguire to the doctor, Reuben quickly made his way back to the colonel.
Upon entering the command center, Cohen asked Reuben for a report and was surprised the man had no battlefield wounds, only what appeared to be a heart attack. Reuben reminded his superior that a heart attack was no laughing matter, to which the colonel replied, “People survive a lot more heart attacks than they do bullet holes in their chests.” Not able to argue that, Reuben asked about the status of the teams and found they had just been given orders. Cohen told his men to stay alert as the Americans exited the villa. The sergeant acknowledged the order and told the colonel they were prepared for anything, adding that the Americans seemed to have accomplished their mission with only a small amount of force and that no one seemed to notice the sound of gunfire. Cohen replied that was what every mission planner hoped for with a covert insertion and that the Americans had pulled it off. Now, the colonel told them was the most difficult part, getting away cleanly without leaving any traces. The sergeant grunted his agreement and then keyed off his microphone. The other team had been listening in and when the colonel finished with the sergeant, the lieutenant keyed his mike and asked for instructions. Col. Cohen told them to stay in place for a few more minutes in case something happened. The lieutenant didn’t put much stock in anyone else coming to the al-Qaeda group’s rescue but he took the order and let Captain bar-Elom know they had been tasked to provide further coverage until the other group cleared the beach.
After dispatching the last pair of security troops, the captain and his female counterpart dragged them off in the direction where they had been crouched in the sand with the lieutenant and his men earlier. Admiring their teammate for her ferociousness, it became apparent through the diminishing fog that she had some difficulty dragging the dead man towards the shore. Seeing this, the lieutenant ordered one of his men to assist and although indignant at having to allow someone else to finish the job, Goldman was grateful. After returning to their hiding spot on the beach, the two had gladly hunkered down with the team guarding their backs. The captain noted the clearing fog and didn’t like being exposed, so he let his team know they’d be bugging out, ordering them towards the dock where they could take cover under the pilings. The lieutenant leading the assault team agreed, fearing someone with infrared scopes would be able to pick them out no matter the visibility. With permission from bar-Elom, the lieutenant had one of his men take the captain’s partner and head towards safety while the rest stayed behind to guard against any threat.
The low rumble of the marine diesel engines could be heard through the fog, and even though the ship’s motor was only idling, it was now warm enough to leave the dock at any time. Buck heard the shots earlier but refrained from breaking radio silence, hoping all his men were alright and the only deaths would be those of terrorists. As time passed, no further shooting took place and the resort stayed calm with the nightly sounds of partying wafting through the air. The Marine Corps colonel realized the plan they designed and executed had most definitely been successful. Not knowing the exact details was starting to eat at him but he waited to hear from his men and wouldn’t interfere. The Sea Djinn was still moored tightly to the dock, but Buck was ready to trade the gentle sway provided by the shifting of the Red Sea for a high-speed run north once his men returned safely and cut the lines that kept them in Saudi Arabia. Buck had had enough of the desert kingdom and the stress of operating covertly inside such a hostile environment was starting to take its toll on him. He reminded himself to hold on just a little while longer, the men would be coming out any moment and as soon as everyone was accounted for they could make their escape. As he sat in the wheelhouse looking out at the sea and the thinning mist, Buck first heard the keying of the comm mic and then recognized the voice.
“Lead this is two, retribution has been dealt,” was the code phrase from Johnson signaling a successful mission.
Surprised it was Johnson’s voice, Buck replied, “Two this is lead, where is one and what is your status?”
Slipping, Johnson replied, “Colonel, one went down before retribution was dealt and we’re picking him up now.”
Worried Maguire had been shot, Buck feared they’d be returning with his corpse and asked, “How badly is he hurt?”
“No injuries sir,” replied Johnson, careful not to reveal too much over the open comm channel. “A medical condition hit just before we were about to strike.”
Relieved, Buck added, “Alright two, just be advised, there are friendlies in the area so don’t be trigger happy on your withdrawal.”
“Roger sir, we know. We have a friendly with us now.”
Happy to hear that bit of information, the colonel told his man, “Take it easy son.”
The news of an almost 100 percent success buoyed Thomsen, but he knew they still had to exit the area and the sooner the better. He already made sure everything was ready for departure but old habits die hard, especially in men trained by the Marine Corps. Looking at his engine indicators he could see the motor was warmed and the engine oil ready to provide optimum performance once they got underway. He fueled the ship days before, topping off the tanks at the marina’s pumps so they’d be ready when the time came. He had life vests for 20, more than he’d need and even had two inflatable rafts in case something happened to the ship. Lighting up the onboard radar, Buck knew it would take a couple of minutes before it warmed up enough to give a good return but he was almost at that point and as soon as the men returned the colonel would feel greatly relieved. Returning to the wheelhouse after checking the lines, Buck could see the outline of the small island on the now working radar. He could also see a boat, slightly larger than his own that had to belong to the Israeli commandoes, just off the southern tip of the island. As the radar swept around the boat, Buck also thought he spotted something small not far off his aft port quarter, but when the arm swept around again there was nothing there. He thought it strange but since he knew the system was just warming up he didn’t think twice about it and carried on with readying the ship for departure.
“Alright, let’s blow this taco stand,” shouted Johnson in one of the favorite expressions of the men of the 1st Marine Division. Based near San Diego, the California Marines probably had more Mexican food restaurants per square mile than in the entire northern half of Mexico, so when it came time to vacate anyplace, be it restaurant, bar or battlefield, the Marines from Camp Pendleton couldn’t help referring to their current whereabouts as anything but what was most familiar to them. Johnson asked the man stationed at the kitchen door how things looked and the man replied everything looked nominal. The party was still in full swing in the bungalow next to the ARAMCO unit and the best way for them to retreat would be straight out the back gate. The young Marine corporal agreed, looked at his new Israeli friend before looking back at his lookout and directing him to take one more look outside to see if he could spot any movement. Dousing the remaining lights in the apartment, Johnson wasn’t surprised when the man told him there were men outside with guns and wearing body armor. Alarmed that he and his compatriots would have to fight their way out of the building, the lookout asked Johnson if it might be better to make their way out the front door and was puzzled with the smile on his mission leader’s face. Turning to David, Johnson asked if he could stick his head out the busted-out glass door and give some sort of clue to the men outside that would warn them off. Nodding, the young Mossad spy stepped up to the kitchen exit, opened the door and said in Hebrew, “Stand down, we’re coming out.”
Knowing the men outside wouldn’t let their guard down, David turned back to Johnson and let him know there would still be guns trained on them until verification could be made. Nodding at the man who had been on the inside for so long, Johnson ordered the man standing guard at the door to allow David outside first, to follow closely behind him and stay alert but not act in a threatening manner. Thinking the orders seemed a bit vague; the man let David out the door, slung his automatic weapon over his shoulder and pulled his personal firearm. David exchanged words with someone outside, but to the man following it was unintelligible. From where he stood looking out the glass window, Johnson next saw David hug and kiss one of the men and knew they were safe and able to move out into the open. Before Hassan started to fully come around, Johnson had him tied tightly around the knees, his arms placed behind his back and tied at the elbows and wrists, and finally gagged with some balled-up material. Then he ordered two of his men to frog-march the terror leader out into the back yard, and told them if he got out of hand to knock him out and drag him to the extraction point. It was easy to see that Hassan understood what was said since he resisted less. Seeing this, Johnson hopped out the door to check on Harry.
Sliding the glass door back and exiting as quickly as he did, Johnson drew the attention of the Israeli commandoes and even had to take a step back as two of the Mossad troops drew their weapons on him. Vouching for him, David ordered the men to lower their weapons as Johnson looked over the side of the deck and asked in a frantic voice, “Where’s Harry?” Looking back at his own troops, David didn’t understand. The sergeant in charge informed them they discovered the sergeant in the backyard and transported him back to the ship for the doctor to have a look at him. David was relieved, but Johnson didn’t know how to deal with the new development and frowned. “Look,” said the sergeant, “he was in bad shape when we got here. I’d say he was having a heart attack. He’s in much better hands now that he’s aboard the boat.” David chimed in on the quality of the doctors Mossad brought along on missions and then asked if Johnson’s team had a doctor along for the ride. Johnson admitted they didn’t and the best care they could give someone was basic first aid. Hearing this, David put his arm around the corporal’s shoulder and assured him his friend would be fine. Thinking it time to get moving, Johnson had his men assemble on the pool deck and asked the Israelis to take the lead.
One of the commandoes saw Hassan’s handler having a hard time with the struggling older man and offered to take control of the prisoner, much to the relief of the oil worker turned soldier. Feeling the presence of the much larger and stronger man now guiding him by the right arm, Hassan feared for his life and wished the suicide capsule that he carried at all timeswasn’t still inside the apartment in a suit case in the spare bedroom. Many al-Qaeda leaders traveled with the means to kill themselves to avoid capture, and Hassan had been one of the biggest advocates of the method, even counseling some of the leaders of the Iraqi resistance to carry a personal grenade with them in case they were cornered. Now he was angry he had been captured and hadn’t followed his own advice. From what the operations chief could tell from the conversation, the attack seemed to be a joint one between Americans and Israelis, a fact he would make sure the Islamic world knew if he ever got his day in court. Now however, the man who planned some of the greatest of al-Qaeda’s post 9-11 attacks was bound and most assuredly on his way to a prison cell. It didn’t matter to him though, unlike so many other captured al-Qaeda leaders, he knew he wouldn’t reveal any secrets. The man who had taken over as his captor was now taunting him in Hebrew, a language which Hassan spoke fluently but acted as if he had no idea what the man was saying. Every member of the Mossad team had been briefed on their target many times though, and the man knew the terror suspect spoke almost a dozen languages, including Hebrew, so he just kept up the barrage of insults as he knew it would soon take its toll on the man. With eyes cast forward, Hassan avoided direct contact with any of the men involved in attacking and killing his compatriots. Having lost his glasses, it was now difficult for him to focus on anything, but he thought he heard a familiar voice just ahead of him.
Trailing behind the Israelis and keeping a close watch on their rear flank, the Americans were nervous but happy. Johnson made his way almost to the back of the pack and asked the man wearing the fiber-optic camera if he had gotten most of it recorded. The man told him that from what he could tell the whole assault had been captured and they’d be able to look at it later. Slapping him on the shoulder to show his appreciation, Johnson made his way to every man in the group and let them know they were almost home. The smiles on the faces of the men were all he needed to see since they all looked like they could use a week’s worth of sleep. Breaking radio silence again, Johnson let Buck know what happened to Harry and how the Israeli spy insisted on taking a prisoner. It took the colonel a minute to answer the call but when he did he listened intently, concluding that Harry was probably better off in the hands of a trained physician. The colonel wasn’t happy to hear about a prisoner and exploded into the comm link. Just as Buck was about to launch into a tirade, a crash was heard from not far off, followed by a hail of gunfire. Johnson signed off his connection and as they passed through the gate onto their own property, every man, Israeli and American instinctively lowered their heads as the terrorist Hassan smiled thinking his rescue was imminent.
After sending part of his team across the channel, al-Sabah took a few minutes with the rest of his men to go over the plans for the assault on the front gate. He hoped they would be able to enter without any difficulty but wasn’t going to leave that to chance and decided the best way to get inside the perimeter was to crash one of the radio trucks right through the main gate. Picking one of the drivers, he told the man to suit up in body armor and a helmet. The driver wasn’t thrilled about crashing his van into anything, and the idea of being fired upon wasn’t something he thought about very often. When he protested that he didn’t want to be responsible for destroying government property, al-Sabah just laughed and told the man not to worry about it since he would gladly buy new equipment. To alleviate the man’s uneasy feeling, the SWAT team leader suggested they put their best sharpshooter in a covering position so he could take out anyone who might be waiting for an attack. Al-Sabah didn’t quite like the idea of possibly killing an innocent man but then made the command decision that in all battles there was collateral damage and he would have to take responsibility for all decisions concerning this operation. Ordering his best shot into position and after the men were armed and protected with body armor, al-Sabah ordered the vans to get into position to storm the gates.
The trucks turned around in the large parking lot, and since al-Sabah wanted to give the men paddling across the channel a few more minutes, he had the vans sit with their motors running for a couple more minutes. Seated in the passenger seat of the SWAT van, the chief inspector donned a helmet with communications gear so he could direct the action once it started. He was used to the plodding pace of long criminal investigations but this was different. Trying to calm his nerves, al-Sabah almost hit the roof of the van when his phone rang. Flipping the phone open, he tried to put it to his ear but realized the helmet was now in his way so he stripped it off and answered with a frenzied, “Hello?” He didn’t notice the name on the screen it was so dark in the van, but recognized the sound of his cousin’s voice immediately. The only problem was that the younger man was speaking so quickly that he barely had time to register what the air force major was trying to relate to him.
“Jalal, we’ve just had a catastrophic plane crash on the outskirts of Mecca,” screeched Wael al-Sabah.
“Wael, this is a very bad time for me,” replied Jalal.
“This is a bad time for the entire country Jalal. As we speak the remains of a 747 have slammed into the tent city south of Mecca. I need as many men as you can muster to provide support for rescue and recovery.”
Recovering his senses, the chief inspector stopped thinking like a paramilitary trooper for a moment and went back into bureaucratic mode. “Wael, contact the Interior Minister, he will be able to get the word out fastest, and at the same time have someone call the barracks in Mecca, Medina, Ta’if and Jeddah and have them recall everyone with orders to head straight to the south side of Mecca to help with crowd control and recovery assistance.”
“Is there anyone else I have to contact cousin? I’m not used to dealing with such tragedies and I don’t want to miss any detail.”
As he tried to think, the SWAT team leader looked at al-Sabah and pointed to his watch to signify the time had come for them to get on with their mission even though he could tell by hearing one side of the conversation that something big must be happening. With the chief inspector’s next question, everyone within earshot now understood just how big a deal it was. “How exactly did the plane get taken down Wael?”
The heads turning in the truck searched for an answer as well but the air force officer hesitated in telling his cousin before finally admitting, “We believe the plane was hijacked and we had some of our fighters in the area to shadow its movements.”
“That doesn’t tell me how it was taken down Wael,” said the chief inspector in a somewhat accusatory tone.
“We’re still investigating,” fired back his now angry cousin. “What else do I need to do and who else do I need to call.”
Thinking for a moment, the chief inspector immediately thought the worst and told his cousin, “You need to shut down media access right now. The western media will want to be on scene, but since its Mecca you can keep them out by telling them that only Muslims are allowed into the Holy City. As for local media that can be silenced by a decree from the palace. The one problem you might have will be al-Jazeera and other Arab news outlets who will no doubt want access but you’ll have to tell them it’s too dangerous still. You should also call in the army to have them on standby.”
“Alright cousin, let me make these phone calls and I’ll get back to you.”
“Wael, I’m very busy just now and can’t be interrupted again. I will get back to you as soon as I can.”
“Understood Jalal. Thank you for your help and good luck with your mission, I’ll be waiting for your call,” said the air force major as he ended the connection.
Without hesitating, chief inspector al-Sabah ordered the driver of the radio van to crash the gate and explained he wanted this mission completed safely and as soon as possible since they now had something else to address. As the lead van charged for the front gate, al-Sabah received looks from the men but he chose not to engage in conversation and ordered them sternly to focus on their mission and to forget what they just heard. As he finished, the van crashed through the gate and immediately started taking gunfire from somewhere to the left of the gatehouse. As al-Sabah was about to use his helmet mic to give an order, he heard voices coming through the headphones talking about a successful mission. Looking at his SWAT chief he asked if the tactical officer heard it as well, to which he got an affirmative nod. A single crack could be heard as the SWAT van pulled through the broken gate and after a wild burst of automatic weapons fire it was obvious the marksmen hit his target. Skidding to a halt just yards inside the resort parking lot, the police vehicles still took fire from small caliber weapons but that didn’t stop the special weapons and tactics team from jumping out the now open back door of the van and fanning out into a decidedly hostile environment.
Split into two elements, the group of Israeli commandoes under Capt. Bar-Elom heard shots coming from the parking area and saw bursts of gunfire coming from two positions. Normally, their first instinct would be to charge into battle but the lieutenant ordered the group under the pier to remain silent and do nothing since the rest of the group would be joining them shortly. The captain agreed and told the remainder of his group to start making their way slowly towards the cover of the pilings. It was obvious to the two Israeli officers that whoever set up security for the al-Qaeda meeting had done a good job of spacing out the teams. However one group was now dismembered and the other was pinned down at the front entrance with no idea their compatriots were already dead. It didn’t matter who was attacking now, the Israelis had completed their support mission and only had to make their escape. As they made their way towards the marina, no one expected to run into enemy resistance on their retreat but creeping along the shoreline one of the men stumbled across an inflatable raft and ended up in a hand-to-hand battle with a man dressed in black and carrying arms. As the man guarding the boat got off a warning cry, his traveling companions turned and fired at the shadowy figures now flanking them. Capt. Bar-Elom ordered his men down and to hold their fire until they were certain they weren’t firing on their own teammates. Ordering his men to check in via their comm links, the captain got a response for every man except the one who stumbled over the now deflating rubber raft to their left. Now the choices the Israelis had were few, they had to fight their way out of a hole and didn’t even know who they were fighting.
Taking over because of his greater tactical experience, the lieutenant sent two of the men to probe towards the walk but ordered them to keep on their stomachs. With visibility improving, the officer knew the human eye catches movement first in low light levels and before crawling off towards the man he feared he lost he reminded the captain to keep low and have the men keep their eyes peeled for any motion coming from the direction of the shots. Since the burst of gunfire that took out the raft, the Israelis hadn’t seen or heard a thing. Usually in close quarter encounters all hell would break lose, everyone would stop and then the side with the fewest remaining members would either try to escape or get obliterated. At some point after that there would be a body count before the winning side moved forward. In this exchange however, both sides had shown unbelievable restraint, and as Capt. Bar-Elom thought about that, the more he was convinced that whoever they stumbled upon was a well-trained force and not a band of al-Qaeda amateurs. If they ran into a group of uneducated and ill-trained security guards he was sure they would have emptied their magazines before becoming martyrs for the cause. Coming to that conclusion, he radioed his men to be careful, the troops they stumbled upon were professionals, and more than likely Saudi security forces.
Lying prone in the sand, the two man cover team dispatched by al-Sabah was now in doubt. Neither was sure of what just happened. After firing back towards the raft, they heard nothing and worried maybe they killed their comrade. Each man showed restraint though, firing only a short burst after hearing a warning shout. After the smoke cleared and they regained the night vision lost from the muzzle flashes, the two men conferred and agreed they had seen something moving before opening fire. They discussed whether they should return to the shore to check on their friend or if they should wait. Listening and hearing nothing, the two agreed they fired in error but neither wanted to make their way back to the raft. The crash and ensuing gunfire they heard coming from the main gate told them the rest of their group was well into their assault. Forgetting what lay behind them, they crawled on their stomachs to within several feet of the walkway and through the light haze saw the row of bungalows mere yards beyond. It was hard to believe that no one was running to escape an attack, but they saw several doors open and occupants stick their heads out to see exactly what was taking place. Even though there was no general panic, whoever was inside the meeting had to know they were in peril.
As they made their way across the channel, all three heard the low rumble of a diesel marine engine and assumed the intended target planned a getaway by sea. Deeming it best to take out their means of egress first, the team figured they could mop up stray terrorists afterwards. While making their way across the channel, they heard the boat engine and paddled towards the sound to get a look at the boat readying to leave. The men laughed at the ship’s name, the “Sea Djinn” and vowed that no mythical sorcerer would save the terrorists. After seeing what they needed to see and wondering just how many men were stationed on the vessel, the three men paddled back up the channel against the tide to make their way onto the beach, delaying their landing. Before beaching the raft, they decided to stealthily make their way onto the dock and take out whoever might be stationed on the boat. What greeted them on the shore threw off their planning and neither of the remaining men had the nerve to go through with their previous plan. Now they were merely content to wait for the combatants to come to them as they didn’t know who might be lurking in the darkness and remaining fog.
Buck didn’t have time to be angry about the Israelis taking a prisoner, especially since now there was a firefight going on somewhere up the beach and Johnson had quite correctly signed off to clear the area as quickly as possible. Making his way to the open end of the boat, Buck listened and heard automatic rifle fire from at least two sources. He reasoned that if anyone else knew about this meeting it would be Saudi security. They had become increasingly more efficient since crowning a new king. As Buck continued to listen, he heard a single shot from a high-powered rifle that he knew had to be a sniper taking out a bad guy. The automatic weapons fire was cut in half and next he heard the distinctive sound of men firing small caliber weapons, something he didn’t think would take long to overcome. As he was about to radio Johnson to tell him to hustle back to the boat, the Marine colonel was shocked to hear a burst of gunfire no more than 50 yards away.
Thinking about the Israeli pair, Buck wondered if they were still alive and if they were in a firefight nearby on the beach. Not wanting to leave the boat, but feeling the need to gather intelligence, Buck hopped over the side rail and ran to the end of the dock after grabbing a pair of low-light lenses. As he neared the end of the dock he was surprised that the exchange had ended as suddenly as it had begun. Not sure of how to proceed, he crouched down on the end of the dock not wanting to present a target if there were enemy combatants lurking, and took a wide view of the beach below. Waiting for the light to adjust, it was easy to make out the form of bar-Elom but Buck wondered where his partner was and if the men now with him were friends or foes. Keeping his view finder on the Israeli captain, Buck saw him pointing and waving as if giving orders, so he had to assume they were his men but as he followed the Mossad spy’s line of sight he came upon the form of a deflated raft and what appeared to be a man trying to ascertain the status of what appeared to be a two lifeless corpses. Scanning back, Buck saw bar-Elom pointing towards the walkway. Looking in that direction with his low-light scope, Buck saw two men who were looking directly at him, which caused him to roll out of sight for a moment. Waiting, Buck returned even though they were barely 10 yards away. As he peered over the edge of the dock towards the two interlopers, he noticed that two of the Israelis had crawled to within a few feet of the intruders and were about to strike.
There were two men down by the edge of the water now, but one of them was the first Israeli casualty of the mission. The lieutenant crawled over to where they lay and after making certain the unknown soldier was dead, he hopped up to assist his own man. The only problem was that a round caught him square in the chest, and even wearing body armor didn’t help when it came to such a large caliber weapon. It was a freak shot actually, the bullet hit the top of the Kevlar vest’s zipper but didn’t deflect away, instead it angled up and then into the flesh just above where the bronchial tubes meet the trachea. For someone wearing body armor there are few more vulnerable spots than that. A clean head shot to a man not wearing a helmet might be the exception, but this shot wasn’t clean or even clear, it was a lucky shot and whoever took it had to pay, thought the lieutenant. Looking back at his captain, the two could now see each other through the mist and instead of risking being heard they used hand signals to communicate. Pointing to his eyes, bar-Elom signaled that he spotted the men who fired the shots and by walking his fingers across the sand the captain was making it plain he had two men on the job. From where he lay prone on the sand, the captain used his goggles to scan the area and after two sweeps he caught the movement of a man, also lying on the sand, whose head popped up only yards away. Not thinking much of their tactical skills, the captain couldn’t believe they weren’t going to check out their rear as he saw them facing forward. Could they be so stupid as to think no one was behind them? They were so focused on their mission that they weren’t going to worry about the man they might have killed. Either way, thought the captain, they were foolish and he was going to have his men teach them the errors of their ways. As his men approached the two assailants from behind, the lieutenant made his way quietly back to where the captain lay on the beach. Since the two men were technically under the lieutenant’s command, bar-Elom handed his low-light goggles over to the junior officer and told him to watch.
Before being sent in that direction, the two Israeli commandoes unhooked their web belts to prevent being heard. Wearing all black, just like their opposition, the two men started out on their stomachs and quietly moved forward using only their elbows and knees. The fine white sand surrounding the island was now cool and made no sound as the men slowly made their way towards the walkway and where the two shooters now lay facing the opposite direction, waiting for someone else. It was obvious they were focused on Unit 76 and the men sneaking up from behind knew it was too late since the meeting they were here to break up had already ended. In a coordinated attack, the man closest to the two Saudis unsheathed his knife and got ready to reach for the leg of the man nearest him. At the same time, his partner drew his gun and set it to semi-automatic. Now within an arm’s length of the two focused Arabs, the first Israeli commando reached up and grabbed at the black boot of the man nearest him. Startled, the man looked up as the knife blade pierced his calf, causing him excruciating pain and making him scream out in pain. Without hesitating, the second Israeli pulled the trigger the moment the second Saudi popped up his head and looked back to see what was happening. The screaming Saudi died next with one shot fired straight through his head, ending his noisemaking. Not caring who saw what at this point, the two men carried the now two lifeless corpses back toward the water’s edge and threw them into the mostly deflated raft. Both Capt. Bar-Elom and the lieutenant were proud of the pair but were now worried about something else.
Buck saw the danger first. From his vantage point he saw the firing in the parking lot at the top of the hill tail off and then end. Whoever attacked the front gate secured the area and now proceeded down the walkway, trying to remain covert. As the Marine colonel watched the situation unfold, he guessed that his Israeli friends took out whoever came ashore. In almost painful slow-motion, Buck watched as the two men crawled from their positions near the shore, snuck up to within inches of the two hostile troops and then took them out with extreme prejudice. The only problem was it wasn’t done silently or without firing a shot. The moment the first man was stabbed and cried out in pain, the troops making their way down the walk stopped and focused their attention directly where the sound came from. The double flash coming from the end of the gun barrel sealed the deal for the new arrivals and Buck thought that whoever they were, they were well-trained since they didn’t panic, instead they fanned out and took up defensive positions while trying to outflank whoever currently held the beach.
Armed with only his night scope, Buck ran back to the boat to grab an M-16. As he sprinted up the dock, one of the boats nearer the resort fired up her engines and startled him. Hitting the deck hard, Buck scraped his hands and ripped his pants. Realizing it was a boat getting ready to motor off, he got back to his feet as he heard whoever was piloting the boat scream, “That’s it boy, get your boat outta here, those are shots and I ain’t being taken hostage.” Getting back to the boat, Buck hopped over the side and landed on one of the deck seats that normally housed life jackets but was now stocked with weapons. Tearing back the cushion, Buck grabbed one of the carbines and several clips of ammunition and hopped back over the side of the deck and made his way back to where he was just moments earlier. As he neared the boat that lit up its engines, the Marine colonel was shouted at and asked to cut the boat free of its lines. Before Buck had a chance to answer, the man in the wheelhouse tossed down a machete which Buck caught and cut the lines at the front of the ship and then the rear before tossing the large knife into the aft deck. Waving his thanks, the captain began to ease his boat out of the slip. Buck saw the muzzle fire coming from up the beach before he actually heard the shots. Once again he threw himself to the deck as he heard the hail of bullets slam into the dock around him and the boat behind him. It was obvious the team of commandoes thought their targets were trying to escape
Keeping his body as low to the deck as he could, Buck hoped a stray bullet didn’t fall short or ricochet and fatally wound him. Avoiding the urge to look up and get a bead on where the shots were being fired, what the Marine colonel did hear startled him, the voices of orders being shouted out almost directly below him. As the volley of bullets continued flying over his head, Buck heard the breaking of glass on the boat behind him as well as the dull “thud” of some of the rounds imbedding themselves into the wood and fiberglass. What came next surprised him since he thought the exchange of gunfire would come from the men on the beach, but somehow those men had repositioned themselves and now the gun battle was enjoined by the Israeli troops who now seemed to be on the embankment that led from the walkway down to the pilings under the dock. Having the advantage of knowing where to fire, the Israelis took out at least two of the other force in the first few seconds but soon took a round of return fire and Buck could hear the rounds impacting in the sand off to his left as well as into the wood of the dock below him. All he could think was that his ship wouldn’t survive the encounter and be able to make its way out to sea. In what came as another surprise to him, a second round of return fire came from men on the beach. Cradling the gun in his arms, Buck contemplated firing but fought back the urge since he knew it would draw fire on his position and he couldn’t risk any more stray bullets.
Looking back over his shoulder, Buck saw a frightful sight. The ship that he helped cut loose was now adrift with her captain dead at the wheel. In a split-second of thought turning into action, Buck saw that on its present course the now free ship might possibly ram his own and he couldn’t let that happen so he jumped to his feet and sprinted down the dock. The ship’s captain had managed to get the boat into the channel and away from the dock but after being shot his fallen body slumped forward onto the wheel and caused it to ever so slowly start heading back toward the dock. Since the engines hadn’t been properly warmed the ship wasn’t moving very fast and Buck took a running head start and lunged off the dock and caught himself on the back gunnels of the ship he cut free just moments ago. Not realizing he had broken two ribs in the landing, Buck made his way up into the pilothouse, cut the engines and threw the wheel over hard to port to insure it wouldn’t crash into the Sea Djinn. Not having the time to maneuver the boat back into a berth, Buck decided to lash the wheel fully to port and throw the engines back open full-throttle, aiming to beach the boat on the other side of the channel. As he threw the ship’s speed controls forward he ran to the back of the boat and jumped into the water, knowing that the renewed engine noise would probably result in more firing from shore. It wasn’t until he hit the surface of the water that he realized the pain he was in and that he could only use his left arm to paddle himself to shore. What would have taken him 30 seconds in the past now took him fully three minutes in a current that was stronger than he imagined. Pulling himself on shore underneath the dock he was helped to his feet by a woman that he recognized, and said, “We need to get the fuck out of here.”