Selective Assassination is a policy of selecting targets, using arms, training personnel and cover-up strategies designed to justify assassination as the means to meet a political agenda.

Assassination has long been a weapon in asymmetric warfare and has been favoured by many terrorist organisations, but the term selective assassination is generally used to describe government-sanctioned killings.

Several totalitarian regimes have indulged in selective assassination, though state-run murder squads would be illegal in most democracies. Even so there are suspicions that some governments have sanctioned it at times.

The US is actively engaged in selective assassination (with "collateral damage" - civilian casualties) through its drone program.

France was also widely thought to have used assassination in its post-colonial phase.

Unofficial elements of UK forces were alleged to have colluded with Protestant extremists in Northern Ireland to eliminate members of the IRA, though no convincing link to government was proved.

Israel famously carried out selective assassinations to avenge the massacre of its athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics by the organization Black September. Today the Israeli government openly announces and carries out a policy of selective assassinations against leaders of the terrorist intifada movement and against Hezbollah.


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