The former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, died early Thursday morning after a long struggle with cancer. He was 71.
Dagan was born in 1945 in Russia and immigrated to Israel with his family at the age of five. He served in the elite paratroopers and was discharged from the IDF in 1966 after reaching the rank of first lieutenant. One year later, during the Six-Day War, Dagan returned to the military where he later set up the "Rimon" covert operations unit, the first of its kind in the IDF, at the command of Ariel Sharon who was then head of the Southern Command. In 1970 he was wounded in his legs when the military vehicle in which he was riding was hit by a mine. During the first Lebanon War he commanded the 188th tank brigade and later established the South Lebanese Army and appointed Saad Haddad as its commander. In 1992 he was promoted to major-general and appointed as head of the IDF general staff's operations division. Dagan served as head of the Mossad from 2002 to 2010. He was married with three children and a number of grandchildren.