SAS legend hired to kill Escobar nearly blown up by grenade that landed on foot

An SAS legend famous for 'nearly' killing Pablo Escobar, almost died on his first ever SAS mission when a hand grenade landed on his foot.

Peter McAleese, 79, was hired by the Cali cartel in 1989 to kill their rival, infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.

McAleese's unit was eventually able to pinpoint Escobar’s location, but the mission ultimately proved a failure after bad weather led to a helicopter crash in the Andes.

The Scotsman also worked on missions in countries including South Africa, Angola, Iraq and Russia, among others.

But all of that could have been very different if a hand grenade that landed on the then 23-year-old McAleese's feet had exploded like it was supposed to.

Speaking to Shaun Atwood's True Crime Podcast on YouTube, he described his first ever SAS mission, which took place during the Aden Emergency in Yemen – an armed insurgency by Arab Nationalists against the Federation of South Arabia, a UK protectorate.

He said: "We were moving down a road and what we thought were shepherds, turned out to be dissident tradesmen.

"The troop sergeant moved forward and this guy shot him in the chest. As he stood up, I think I shot him about five times.

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"A firefight broke out and there was a lot of lead flying each way and a funny thing happened to me, I was standing there and I could hear a crack at the bottom of my legs, but I was too busy in the firefight.

"Anyway, when it got light, we cleared the whole area, I checked on the dead, tried to organise follow-ups and I went back to this place where I'd shot this guy and there was a hand grenade – it was an old mills green one, it must have been years old.

"It had landed on a rock and cracked open and what I thought was a bullet was actually the detonator going off in the hand grenade."

Atwood, the podcast's host, was shocked with the story and praised McAleese's brave nature for talking about the incident in such calm manner.

The Scotsman even proceeded to make a joke about the whole event, saying: "There may not have been any McAleese family if it had gone off," while laughing.

Speaking about his feelings after the battle, the 79-year-old explained how his thoughts were about how he hadn't let his comrades down and how proud he felt about the men who trained him.

He said: "They had taken me to this stage and this is how I felt, there was no fear as such. There was a bit of apprehension as the battle started yes, but I was very fortunate, the people who trained me, they were outstanding.

"They were good at producing soldiers."

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