A Raid on the Red Sea


A Raid on the Red Sea

The Israeli Capture of the Karine A

Amos Gilboa
Edited and translated by Yonah Jeremy Bob

320 pages
26 photographs, 2 illustrations, 5 maps, 3 appendixes


March 2021


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2021


$34.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

March 2021


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

A Raid on the Red Sea is the thrilling, real-life tale of illegal gun-running in the Middle East. In this firsthand account, Amos Gilboa gives the harrowing details of the secret close-working relations between Israeli and American intelligence in the seizure of the Karine A ship, the most successful Israeli intelligence operation since the legendary Entebbe hostage rescue.

At 0400 hours, January 3, 2002, two fast boats of Israel’s naval commando unit closed in on the stern of the Palestinian Authority’s Karine A. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had clandestinely loaded its cargo: fifty-six tons of high-grade, long-range weapons destined for the Gaza Strip. The Israelis’ plan to seize it went awry when they found nothing but a confused group of Egyptians, Jordanians, and Palestinians. Had they boarded the wrong ship? Was there going to be an international incident disgracing Israel?

This drama has more than its share of plot twists. The story’s hero, a low-level female intelligence analyst, was the first to grasp the grave danger posed by the Karine A. Analyzing piles of disinformation, she kept on the scent of the ship, tracking it from Egypt to Sudan to Dubai. Only through the joint efforts of Israeli and U.S. naval intelligence, Mossad and the CIA, was the ship stopped and calamity averted. Seizing the ship led to a fateful reorientation of U.S. policy regarding the Middle East with consequences to this day, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the 2020 assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani.


Author Bio

Brig. Gen. Amos Gilboa (Res.) is a former head of the Analysis and Production Division of Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence and military attaché in Washington. For more than a decade he was a special advisor for methodology in military intelligence and teacher of various intelligence and technology-related courses at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the Technion University. He is the author of several books, including Israel’s Silent Defender: An Inside Look at Sixty Years of Israeli Intelligence and Mr. Intelligence: Arale, the Biography of General Aharon Yariv. Yonah Jeremy Bob is an intelligence, terrorism, and legal analyst as well as a literary editor for the Jerusalem Post. He is the author of Justice in the West Bank? The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Goes to Court.


"Fiction and nonfiction literature on special operations have become highly popular in recent years. For anyone interested in the subject, this well-written, authoritative and fascinating account of a daring raid in the Red Sea is a must."—Uri Bar-Joseph, Jerusalem Post

"Readers with an interest in contemporary special operations will enjoy this book."—Mike Markowitz, Strategy Page

“This is the riveting and untold story of the behind-the-scenes intelligence and operational heroes who overcame tremendous obstacles to capture a massive weapons smuggling ship, which permanently and fundamentally altered U.S. policy in the region regarding the Palestinians and Iran.”—Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz (Res.), former Israeli defense minister and Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff

“For Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush, the Karine A affair obliterated the vestiges of Arafat’s reputation as a peacemaker. It was a decisive event in the history of U.S.–Middle East policy. It shifted the balance of bureaucratic power away from those intent on wooing Arafat to those determined to shun him. The ship’s capture is a story as thrilling as an episode of Fauda. General Gilboa gives a lively account—exciting, incisive, and historically valuable.”—Douglas J. Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute

“In the public’s imagination, usually the Israeli Air Force is the tip of the sword protecting the Jewish state. This time it was naval intelligence and commandos who saved the country from a hail of fiery missiles that would have spelled catastrophe in the days before meaningful missile defense.”—Adm. Yedidya Yaari (Res.), former chief of Israeli Defense Forces Navy

“The Karine A story exposed the cooperation between Yasir Arafat, Iran, and Hezbollah in their attempt to kill thousands of Israelis. The book depicts this and Israeli intelligence’s efforts, backed by its American counterpart, in a captivating fashion—from the first scent picked up by intelligence that there was trouble until the final diplomatic results.”—Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser (Res.), former head of the Analysis and Production Division of Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Dramatis Personae
1. The Grand Scheme and the Ancient Grudge
2. Picking up the Trail
3. An Intelligence Coup
4. Enter the Americans
5. A Moment of Doubt
6. Operational Preparations in High Gear
7. Mission Ready—Overnight
8. A Waiting Game
9. The Karine A Disappears
10. A Stormy New Plan
11. D-Day Minus One
12. The Capture of the Karine A
13. The International Ramifications
Appendix A: Key Points in the Karine A Story
Appendix B: The Ship’s Capacity and Weapons Cargo
Appendix C: The Karine A’s Crew and Leading Players

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