Mossad killed top Iranian nuclear scientist with remote machine gun – NYT

The great Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in November 2020 in a sophisticated coup led by a Mossad team that allegedly deployed a computerized machine gun, required no agents on site, took less than a minute and was hurt no one else, including the wife of the scientist who was with him at the time.

According to a detailed New York Times report on Saturday, the weapon used in the high-profile assassination of Fakhrizadeh last year – considered by Israel and many Western officials to be the “father” of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Iran – was a modified Belgian. -Made FN MAG machine gun attached to advanced robotic device and powered by artificial intelligence technology. The whole device weighed around a ton and was smuggled into Iran in small pieces before the operation and then reassembled.

The Mossad team managed the entire operation from a command center outside the country, according to the report which the publication said was based on interviews with officials from the United States, Israel and the United States. Iranians, “including two intelligence officials familiar with the details of the planning and execution of the operation.”

The report detailed how Israel had closely followed Fakhrizadeh’s career and movements since at least 2007 and began preparations for an assassination operation in late 2019 and early 2020, following a series of meetings between Israeli officials. led by then Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and senior US officials including then US President Donald Trump, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and CIA Director Gina Haspel .

Those preparations kicked into high gear in the summer of 2020, according to the report, and Israel decided to move forward, motivated by two factors: Israeli intelligence and the growing likelihood of Trump losing the November national election. against Joe Biden, who had indicated that he would bring the United States back to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“If Israel wanted to kill a senior Iranian official, an act that had the potential to start a war, it needed the consent and protection of the United States,” The New York Times reported, noting how much Trump and then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “saw it the same way.”

Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in an undated photo. (Courtesy)

“In Mr. Netanyahu’s best case, the assassination would derail any chance of resurrecting the nuclear deal even if Mr. Biden wins,” the report said.

Fakhrizadeh, 59, a physicist, officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and professor at Imam Hussein University in Tehran, was killed on November 27, 2020, while traveling with his wife from their vacation home on the Caspian Sea to their country house in Absard, east of Tehran. He was driving his own vehicle, a black Nissan Teana sedan, with his wife sitting in the passenger seat next to him and his bodyguards in separate cars behind him.

The report explained how the scientist ignored warnings of a possible assassination attempt as well as advice from his security team, insisting on driving himself in the unarmoured car. He no longer took threats to his life seriously after being subjected to them for years. He had previously been the target of an assassination, most recently in 2009, when a response team was ready to execute their plan, but the operation was called off because the Mossad feared an ambush, according to the report.

Meanwhile, in November, the Mossad computerized weapon was affixed to an abandoned-appearing car, a blue Nissan Zamyad pickup truck, parked by Iranian agents working with the Israeli agency at a crossroads on the main road where drivers heading towards Absard had to do a U-turn, according to the report. The truck was loaded with a camera and explosives so that it could be destroyed after the hit.

When the team learned that Fakhrizadeh was heading for the exit, “the assassin, a skilled sniper, took up his position, calibrated the sight, cocked the weapon and lightly pulled the trigger” – the all from an “undisclosed location thousands of miles away” and no longer in Iran.

An illustrative photo of a Belgian FN MAG mounted on a Eurocopter EC 725 Cougar MkII at the 2007 Paris Air Show (Jastrow – Own work, public domain, link)

The affected team had to overcome several obstacles, including a slight delay and the weapon’s recoil after a shot that could change the trajectory. The report says that “the AI [articificial intelligence] was programmed to compensate for the delay, the shake and the speed of the car ”, without going into detail.

After Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle arrived at the crossroads, another vehicle with his bodyguards drove to the vacation home to inspect it before it arrived, leaving it exposed. The remaining vehicles in the convoy slowed to a retarder just before the parked truck, at which point officers were able to identify with certainty Fakhrizadeh as the driver of the Nissan. They set off a hail of bullets, hitting the car under the windshield.

The report states that it is not known whether Fakhrizadeh was injured, but the car swerved and stopped, after which he got out and crouched in front of the open door. He was then hit by three more bullets which “tore his spine” and collapsed on the road.

The first bodyguard arrived at the scene with a weapon and “looked for the assailant, apparently confused.”

Fakhrizadeh’s wife ran up to him and sat next to him on the road. The blue truck then exploded but most of the equipment remained largely intact although severely damaged.

A total of 15 bullets were fired and the assassination was completed in less than 60 seconds, The New York Times reported. No one else was hit or injured.

The operation was considered a success, according to the report, given “serious breaches of the security of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, extensive planning and surveillance by the Mossad, and a near fatalistic recklessness on the part of Mr. Fakhrizadeh “.

“The inflated remote machine gun now joins the combat drone in the arsenal of high-tech weapons for remote targeted murder” and is “likely to reshape the world of security and espionage,” the New reported. York Times.

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