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January 18, 2013. Abandoned soccer field. Williamsburg, Virginia.
His code name was ―Haytham,‖ the ―Young Hawk,‖ named for his sharp eyesight.
Fifty-one year-old assassin Mohammed el Faya lay down on his stomach, looking
through the scope of his long-range sniper rifle. He calmly breathed in and breathed out,
lining up the site. Six hundred yards away was a large toy monster truck. Attached with
duct tape to the side monster truck was a six-foot tall plastic red rod. At the top of the
rod was a red and white target. El Faya pressed a button on a remote control, and the
monster truck began moving from one side of the soccer field to the other, with the target
bobbing up and down on the swinging red stick. When the truck moved to a point near
the goalie box, el Faya calmly pressed the trigger in rapid succession. The red and white
plastic target was annihilated. But even more impressive, every bullet also hit the white
goal post behind the truck. El Faya was ready. He rested on his back, and pulled out a
Marlboro, contemplating what lay ahead of him in two days. He was happy The Planner
had not given him the Kirkwood school assignment. He thought the killing of children
was wrong under any circumstances, and thought for a moment about his small brother,
killed at the hand of Saddam Hussein. No, he was glad that another Abisali had been
chosen for that assignment. He could not kill a child. He only had to kill one person, an
unworthy and bad person, a defiler of the faith. He would not lose any sleep. His
untraceable phone buzzed, indicating a text message. It was from The Planner. ―Phase
Two Ready. See attachment for planned route.‖ He opened the attachment, and viewed
the map where his target would be traveling in two days. He thought for a moment about
vantage points. He would have to case the area, but he believed this was doable. He sent
a text message, ―Confirmed.‖ He put his phone away and took out a cloth, and cleaned
his gun. His aim would be true this time. This time….
July 8, 1982. Dujail, Iraq (50 miles north of Baghdad).
Eighteen young, angry militants from the Iraqi Shiite Dawa Party gathered in the
small stone house which they had converted into a temporary headquarters. Every man
in the room hated Saddam Hussein. Every man in the room had a relative who had been
imprisoned, tortured or killed by Saddam. Mohammed el Faya, a tall, lanky brown-
bearded 20 year-old with piercing brown eyes and a sharp nose, was especially interested
in the mission. Two years earlier, Mohammed‘s brother Salmon, who was then eight
years old, had been playing football on a small dirt street in Dujail when he had
experienced the inhumanity of Saddam Hussein‘s Revolutionary Guard. Salmon el Faya
had been given the soccer ball from a traveling Red Cross worker, and it was his pride
and joy. He carried it everywhere. He had mastered the flip throw-in and even the
scissors kick. He was far better at football than any of the older boys, and he hoped one
day to play on the Iraqi National Team. On that afternoon two years ago, he had been
practicing flipping the ball over his head and onto his shoulders, where he attempted to
cradle the ball between the top of his shoulder blades and the back of his neck. It was a
tough move, but Salmon felt he could master it. No one had known then that President
Hussein would be coming through town that afternoon with his motorcade. Had his