Читать онлайн "Upfall"
автора "Jonathan F. Keiler"
Copyright © 2012 by Jonathan F. Keiler
212 3rd Ave North, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, incidents are the product of the author's imagination and/ or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
On September 6, 2007 Israeli fighter-bombers attacked a mysterious target in eastern Syria, near the Euphrates River. For many weeks Israel refused to formally acknowledge the raid. It is now known that the target was a secret Syrian nuclear site. Some sources opined that the attack was really a decoy to distract the Syrians, while a clandestine team of Israeli commandos actually hit the target.
Syrian spokesmen seemed to confirm the latter version of events by pointedly denying that Israeli ground forces were present, while at the same time acknowledging that Israeli planes had inexplicably bombed empty areas of desert. But few knowledgeable experts believed that. Rather, it appeared that the Syrians had indeed suffered some kind of devastating commando attack, but were too embarrassed to admit the truth.
Adding to the mystery was Israel's uncharacteristically stubborn silence on the matter. When Israeli jets destroyed Iraq's nuclear facilities in 1981 the Israel government was quick to claim the success. On this occasion, however, official Israeli sources remained mute. The likelihood that an Israeli commando force could be airlifted deep into eastern Syria, destroy a major nuclear facility, and get away, leaving no trace behind, is hard to credit. But the veil of secrecy Israel still maintains over the operation has led some to speculate that the Israelis had developed a new means of stealth transport that is so sensitive, only a very few people inside the Israeli establishment are even aware of its existence.
Lieutenant Ron Shapira tried to ignore the nauseating shaking in the capsule by listening to Led Zeppelin on his Ipod. While "Over the Hills and Far Away" pounded in the small earpiece in his left ear, he stayed alert for messages that might come through the IDF issue radio-earpiece on his right ear. Like most Israeli soldiers he called the earpiece and microphone a Madonna—after the head-hugging set popularized by the singer. The other commandos in the cramped capsule also attempted to pass the time listening to music or daydreaming. Major Mofaz prayed. Bolander chewed gum. Only the unit leader, Colonel Danny Yatom, in his perch at the front, seemed completely unperturbed.
If the hammering blast of the capsule's arrival frightened and shook the Israeli commandos inside, it positively terrified the Iranians on floor of the Natanz nuclear facility. The scientists and technicians first assumed that another centrifuge had crashed. The massive facility was covered with over 6000 of the machines, all working day and night to separate and enrich uranium for the Islamic Republic's atomic bomb program. The mullahs had pressed the uranium enrichment factory into operation much faster than normal safety and manufacturing protocols would have permitted. As a result, centrifuges crashed all the time.
But that didn't explain the presence of the dark oblong capsule that had suddenly appeared in the middle of the facility around the detritus of wrecked centrifuges. Even stranger, the capsule opened, spilling out a dozen men dressed in bulky chemical / biological protection suits festooned with military style webbing and carrying black rifles. To the horror of the startled Iranian technicians, the men suddenly raised their weapons and began firing.
Yatom led the men out of the capsule onto the concrete floor,already full of shattered machines. In his ears the huge hall echoed from the crash of the capsule mingled with the insect hum of thousands of still working centrifuges. Like his men, Yatom was dressed in standard a MOPP level four protective suit. A plastic hood covered his head, a sealed mask and respirator his face. Suspended over his shoulders was a flak vest and webbing holding wide assortment of battle gear. On top of the hood Yatom wore a standard IDF Kevlar helmet. All the commandos carried American-made M-4 carbines.
The rifles were not suppressed. Their popping reports added to the din along with the centrifuges, and the shouting and screaming of alarmed, wounded and dying Iranians. A team of commandos spread into the vast hall, rifles raised to their face masks, firing single shots or short bursts in every direction. Occasionally a bullet struck a centrifuge, spewing radioactive uranium-hexafluoride gas. Panicked technicians fled the area, more afraid of the deadly gasses than bullets. Revolutionary Guard troops took the technicians cue and followed. In a few seconds the first commando team found itself alone in the hall. Not wasting a second they began to lay down their charges.
Yatom couldn't see much within the facility. Each separation tube was twenty centimeters across and two meters high. They filled the hall in dense seemingly endless rows. Yatom checked his communications with the Bet team leader, Major Mofaz, who already deep into the separation hall with his men. As Yatom had feared the com-sets barely functioned in the underground plant. His Madonna headset hissed and squawked. Mofaz, adapting, responded to the signal with a pair of clicks.
Yatom looked back at the capsule where his third team Gimmel, under Lieutenant Shapira, stood guard. He pointed at the three other men in his own team, and shouted into his Madonna "I'm moving to the second hall! After me!"
Yatom led team Alef into a passageway that ended in a second separation hall. There the alarm had been raised and a squad of Revolutionary Guardsmen opened a ragged fire as the commandos burst in. Yatom's men returned fire with a fusillade of bullets and grenades. It appeared indiscriminate, but in fact, every man reacted with precision. In seconds the separation hall was ablaze with exploding centrifuges and ordnance. The Guardsmen scrambled away as the raiders fanned out. Each commando set down two timed satchel charges. Each charge was filled with a kilo of C4, surrounded by a matrix of ball bearings. Thirty seconds later, Yatom led his team from the enormous room into the connecting passage back into the first hall.
In the first separation hall two men from the Bet team were already back at the capsule when Yatom and Alef arrived. He looked again across the hall, where wrecked and tumbled centrifuges continued to spill toxic gas. An Iranian technician had cut power to the hall and set off a loud alarm. It gave the hall had a strange otherworldly aspect, bathed in emergency lighting and the glow of electrical fires, the clamor of the powered down centrifuges and sirens echoing in the chamber.
Yatom and his men joined Shapira's team reserve team outside the capsule. It was now impossibly loud. Yatom grabbed Shapira and ignoring the static filled radio, pantomimed his question: "Where are Mofaz and the rest?"
The junior commando pointed in the general direction of a control booth, behind which Yatom could just make out the shapes of sheltering Iranian technicians. Then, about fifty meters away, in a haze of hexafluoride gas, Yatom saw flashes from Mofaz's M-4. At his feet was the prostrate body of a commando. Yatom switched to the Bet frequency and yelled into his Madonna.
"Mofaz—who is down?"
"Yoram" answered Mofaz. "He fell..."
"Fell? Dead?" asked Yatom.
"Affirmative, Angel down" comfirmed Mofaz, using IDF slang for a dead soldier.
"Fall back!" Yatom shouted into the Madonna.
"Collect body." Israeli troops never left a comrade, wounded or dead, if they could help it.
A bulky commando from team Bet named Roskovsky grabbed Yatom's shoulder. He yelled into the commando leader's ear. "The area is under fire from near the control booth! Mofaz cannot withdraw."
"Why are you here?"
"Mofaz told us to pull out."
"Shit" said Yatom in English.
Yatom again tried to raise Mofaz on the radio but failed.
"You two" Yatom pointed to a pair of Shapira's men who had not been in the fight "follow me!" He pointed at Shapira, indicating he should remain at the capsule.
The three men ran off into the chaos at a crouch. About twenty meters from Mofaz Yatom could see muzzle flashes from what had to be the Iranian Guard positions.
"There!" he simply yelled and pointed, and the two commandos let loose with their M-4s. Yatom tossed a grenade, signaled the two commandos to remain in place and keep shooting, and sprinted to Mofaz.
Mofaz lay prone by the body of Yoram. Yatom slid in next to Mofaz and grabbed his arm.
"Let's go!" he said.
"Yoram!" screamed Mofaz, pointing to the dead commando in front of him.
"Now!" yelled Yatom. "That is an order! Leave him!"
The Iranian fire had slackened thanks to Yatom's grenade and the steady fire of Roi and Mike, the two team Gimme! commandos. They looked toward their officers, arguing over the body of Yoram.
Mofaz twisted his face into a scowl, grabbed Yoram‘s body under both shoulders and began dragging him toward the capsule, blood smearing the floor behind the corpse. Yatom, realizing that arguing with his deputy would only w ...