Israelis in Fear over Iran’s Reprisal for Assassination of N. Scientist
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Israeli and US officials have been holding several meetings to study different possibilities for Iran’s retaliation after the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted sources as saying that senior officers in the Israel Defense Forces have met in recent days with their counterparts at US Central Command, aiming to tighten the links between the two militaries in case Iran retaliates after last week’s assassination of its top nuclear scientist.
It added that the coordination includes protocols for detecting missile launches toward Israel and US targets in the region.
The CNN had earlier quoted a senior US administration official as saying that Israel was behind the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist but declined to give details about whether the Trump administration knew about the attack before it was carried out or provided support.
The official said that in the past, Israelis have shared information with the US about their targets and covert operations before carrying them out but would not say if they did so in this instance. The Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had been a target for the Israelis for a long time, the official added.
Israel put its embassies around the world on high alert last Saturday after Iranian threats of retaliation following the killing of a nuclear scientist near Tehran, Israeli N12 news reported.
Also, Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that the Israeli counter-terrorism commission warned Israelis a couple of weeks ago to remain cautious when they travel to the UAE and Bahrain. "The warning was doubled after the assassination of Fakhrizadeh," it pointed out.
The paper added that the counter-terrorism commission expects that thousands of Israelis will visit the Persian Gulf states for tourism and trade in the coming weeks.
"The National Security Council said that there are real threats to the security of Israeli citizens visiting the UAE in the light of existing activities of terror organisations," added the Israeli newspaper. The commission says that there is a "significant tangible threat" of attacks against Israeli citizens in the (Persian) Gulf.
Meantime, France 24 reported that Israel had warned Thursday of an increased threat against its citizens abroad following Iran's call to avenge last week's assassination of its top nuclear scientist.
"In light of recent threats from Iranian elements... we fear that Iran may attack Israeli targets," the Israeli foreign ministry said.
It warned of possible attacks against its nationals in Africa and in countries geographically close to Iran, citing Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Kurdish region of Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Also, Times of Israel reported that Tel Aviv has warned nuclear scientists who used to work at its Dimona reactor to take increased security measures amid fears they could be targeted.
It added that Israeli scientists have been told to step up their vigilance. At least one former Dimona scientist was told to change his daily routine, not take walks along set paths, and to be vigilant about suspicious packages.
Meantime, a Hezbollah drone flew over the occupied territories’ Galilee and returned safely to Lebanon despite high alert among the ranks of the Israeli occupation army last October, a report said on Thursday.
Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar reported that a Hezbollah drone managed to enter the airspace of occupied Palestine on October 26 as the Israeli occupation army was on high alert and waging the so-called “Lethal Arrow” maneuver.
“The maneuver was accompanied with high activity by the Israeli air force,” the Lebanese daily said.
“One of the maneuver’s goals was to prevent drones from getting into the Palestinian airspace,” Al-Akhbar said, highlighting the paradox.
The drone managed to capture photos and footage of the occupied region of Galilee and then returned to its base in Lebanon safely, the daily revealed.
Meantime, an analyst said that Israel may resort to attacks against its own civilian targets in a false-flag operation in order to start a ballyhoo and preempt a major Iranian retaliation.
“One of the features of a successful retaliation is its surprising nature and uncertainty about its time. Surprise is a major factor for a successful attack and should always be born in mind by strategists in picking up the target of attack, the type of battlefield, type of attack and specially the time of attack. Under such circumstances, the Israelis now intend to make the Iranian attack predictable, specially when it comes to its timing as they do not want to be exhasted after standing on alert for a long time, and hence, are trying to provoke Iran to launch the retaliation in a rush and in a time span as short as possible,” Senior Political Analyst Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm told the Iranian state-run TV on Monday night.
“Meantime, the Zionists might mastermind a false-flag operation to attack their own civilians, like Israeli tourists, overseas, specially in some Arab countries of the region to accuse Iran and launch a political and media campaign on the international scene through the cooperation of the US and enjoy engagement of a third party state to mount pressure on Iran at international bodies for picking up civilians for an act of reprisal, all to dissuade Tehran's response and escape its act of reprisal,” he added.
Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's car was targeted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran on November 27.
The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Sunday that the assassination bears all the hallmarks of the Israeli regime.
An informed source told Press TV on Monday that the remains of the weapon used in the Friday assassination of senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh show that it was made in Israel.
The history of Tel Aviv’s sabotage targeting Iran’s nuclear energy program is as old as the program itself.
Many observers believe Israel is not able to carry out such dangerous operations without the prior information and support of the United States which left a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that electronic equipment has been used in the “highly complicated” assassination of Fakhrizadeh, and further underlined the role of Israel and the anti-Iran Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) in the terror attack.
“Unfortunately, the operation was very complicated and was carried out by using electronic equipment and no one (terrorist) was present on the scene. But some clues are available, and the identity and records of the designer of the operation has been discovered by us,” Shamkhani said on Monday.
“Certainly, Monafeqin (hypocrites as MKO members are called in Iran) have played a role and certainly, the Zionist regime and Mossad are the criminal mastermind of this incident,” he added.
Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.
According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.
After the terrorist attack on Friday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami underlined that assassination of Fakhrizadeh may not undermine Iranians' resolve, and said revenge for the terror attack is already on the country's agenda.
General Salami extended condolences to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, martyr Fakhrizadeh's family, and the Iranian nation over the martyrdom of Head of the Research and Innovation Organization of Iran's Defense Ministry, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in an organized and pre-planned terrorist attack by the child-killing Israeli regime.
"The enemies of the Iranian nation, specially the masterminds, perpetrators and supporters of this crime, should also know that such crimes will not undermine the resolve of the Iranians to continue this glorious and power-generating path, and harsh revenge and punishment is on agenda for them," the IRGC chief commander stressed.
Also, Ayatollah Khamenei in a message condemned assassination of Fakhrizadeh, ordering officials to take action to punish the masterminds and perpetrators of the terror attack.
“Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear and defense scientist of the country, was martyred by criminal and cruel mercenaries. The unique scientific figure gave his dear and precious soul in the way of God for his great and lasting scientific efforts, and the high position of martyrdom is his divine reward,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message on Saturday.
“Two important issues should be seriously put on the agenda by all relevant officials; first, probing the crime and the definite punishment of those who perpetrated and ordered it; and second, pursuing and continuing the martyr's scientific and technical efforts in all the sectors in which he was engaged,” he added.
Ayatollah Khamenei also extended his condolences to martyr Fakhrizadeh’s family, students and the scientific society of the country, wishing him the highest position before God.
President Rouhani had last Saturday condemned assassination of Fakhrizadeh, vowing retaliation for the criminal act.
“All think-tanks and enemies of Iran should know well that the Iranian nation and officials are too brave and too couragous to leave this criminal act unanswered,” Rouhani said, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran.
“The relevant officials will give a response to their crime in due time, and in addition, the Iranian nation is too wise and too smart to fall into the trap of the Zionists’ plot,” he added.
President Rouhani said that it seems some parties are after stirring chaos but “they should know that we are aware of their plots and they will not succeed in attaining their malicious goals”.
“The Zionist regime and those standing against Iran should know that the path of the country’s development and research will be paved rapidly” and a large number of other Iranian scientists like Fakhrizadeh will emerge to help, he added.
Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.
In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.
"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.
"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.
"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.
"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.
According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.
In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.
The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.
The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.
Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.
In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.
“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.