London, Mar 12(ANI): Undisclosed documents in Britain's National Archives have disclosed that a plan was hatched to assassinate former Italian dictator Mussolini through a bomb raid on his headquarters in Rome by the Royal Air Force's Dambusters Squadron.
According to documents, Air Marshal Arthur Harris had proposed using a squadron to fly over Rome at "roof-top level" and drop bombs on Mussolini's headquarters and residence in an attempt to kill or maim him.
The operation, which was conceived in early 1943, had also been approved by then Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden.
In a memorandum to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dated 13 July 1943, Eden wrote: "Harris has asked permission to try to bomb Mussolini in his office in Rome and to bomb his residence simultaneously in case the Duce is late that morning."
"I suggest that if Mussolini were killed or even badly shaken, at the present time this might greatly increase our chance of knocking Italy out (of the war) at an early date. And I therefore ask your permission to lay the operation on," The Telegraph quoted Eden, as having wrote in the memorandum.
However, within weeks of the proposed plan, Mussolini was ousted in Italy and was replaced by a caretaker government led by King Vittorio Emmanuele III, who later surrendered to the Allies.
Mussolini fled to northern Italy to lead a Fascist republic, but was later captured and executed by Italian partisans in 1945. (ANI)