- Sources told Insider that the assassination of an Al Qaeda commander in Tehran by Israeli forces could have been carried out only at the request of US intelligence.
- Carrying out an operation similar to the one that killed Abu Mohammed al-Masri could take years of preparation.
- Mossad will select Israelis with the right Farsi language skills, and they will train their entire lives for the same task, our sources said.
- But the cost – resources and lost intelligence assets – could have been steeper, with the United States having a stake.
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Two current European intelligence officials and a former Israeli Mossad official say the assassination of a top Al Qaeda commander in Tehran last August by an Israeli conquest group would have been the most costly operation to have been carried out only at the direct request of US intelligence. They told Insider that Israel has traditionally demanded valuable compensation for carrying out such a dangerous and complex operation inside Iran.
U.S. intelligence officials confirmed an Israeli operation in a Tehran neighborhood on August 7 last week. Abu Mohammed al-Masri was assassinated. Masri was a longtime Egyptian member of Al Qaeda in the late 1980s. With a few dozen top Al Qaeda leaders and their families, Masri has lived under various forms of house arrest, detention or surveillance in Iran since escaping the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Accessing him – under the noses of the authorities in Tehran – could not be easier or cheaper. That is the main indication that American resources must have been used to make that happen.
The United States provided the location and Israel the winning team
Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Masri represented al-Qa’eda’s high-ranking al-Qa’eda chief, Saif al-Adel (also believed to be in Iran). The current top leader is Ayman al-Zawahiri, but he has been a key figure in the group and is believed to be hiding on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. He is rumored to have fallen ill and died.
Masri led Al Qaeda operations in East Africa in the 1990s and was wanted by the United States in connection with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Although Al Qaeda did not immediately announce Masri’s death – as if its official sources were silent on the rumors of Zawahiri’s death – Social media accounts that are considered close to the AQ leadership have begun to praise him.
“It was a joint operation with the Americans that identified Masri’s secret identity and location in Tesran, while the Israelis provided real Assamese to carry out the attack in Tehran,” a European intelligence official said. The details of the operation were explained to the source, but declined to be identified in the media discussing the operational issues.
“We know that since 2003 Iran has been using detention and safe havens for some Al Qaeda members and their families who escaped the US invasion. [of Afghanistan] In 2001, he said, “Masri and Adele have always been very concerned about counter-terrorism authorities because they are both very efficient and ruthless operators, and we have seen them very active with various Al Qaeda organizations in Syria.”
Despite fierce religious and political rivalry between Shia Iran and Sunni Al Qaeda, it has long been understood in intelligence circles that an uncomfortable relationship has developed since 2001 because Iran has decided that the United States has provided nothing to divert terrorists. . Holding them under various forms of house arrest gave alienation to Iran over the Sunni group. In fact, Tehran has twice transferred abducted ambassadors for greater independence or for the public release of some Al Qaeda members in Iran, Including bin Laden’s many children and wives.
Israeli agents are training their entire lives for a full-fledged operation inside Iran
A former Mossad official has said that Israel has consistently been able to achieve its goals in Iran for the past 30 years because of its focus on recruiting and training Israelis of Iranian descent for top-secret operations.
“Half a million Israelis who grew up in Iran or grew up in Israel speak Parsi with their families,” said the former Mossad official, who declined to be identified or spoke directly about the Masri operation.
“This community is being closely monitored by Mossad and military intelligence, and of course it is used to appoint both agents and investigators,” a Mossad official said. “My family is Iranian. I grew up speaking Farsi at home. It was only after my IDF service that my Hebrew began to sound as native as my Forsien. There are many like me in this business.”
In past conversations, Israeli officials described a process by which candidates in the intelligence and military carefully observe Spycraft skills during their compulsory military service. With particular emphasis on members of the elite special forces and military intelligence units, candidates for deep cover operations or the Mossad assassination unit – until recently called the Bayonet – will in many cases be recruited and trained for a single task.
“Top figures in the elite – who can be said to have had the right Forsyth skills to grow up in an Iranian Jewish family – will be recruited into the most secretive factions in Mossad and will often train their entire lives for the same mission,” said former Israeli paramedic and Special Forces doctor. Said. “Mossad will see this person as a card they can play with later: here’s a well – trained assassin from an elite military unit. It’s not a foreign operation, so no one knows his face. This is a person you can secretly send to Tehran. But only once. For a mission. “
But because of the value of these types of human assets, it is rare for the shooters to be Israelis and instead members of one of the anti-government groups, such as the Balochistan Independence Movement. Mossad had been in pay for a decade, Said a European intelligence official based in the Middle East.
“The Israelis have been very effective in deploying proxy gunmen for this type of massacre in Tehran,” the official said, noting that from 2010 to 2015, top Iranian nuclear scientists were killed in Iran. Manipulators and the like have to operate within Iran, but only in the most critical situations. An example is function To steal Iranian nuclear arsenal [July 2018]. They may have used the Israelis on the ground for that operation. “
But what did the United States pay to do this work?
Considering that despite Al Qaeda’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, the group never tried to target the Israelis directly, a European official based in the Middle East questioned what the Israelis used to carry out the operation.
“The move exploded the cover or capacity to operate half a dozen assets or more in Iran,” the official said. “Israelis and Americans are ‘friends’ for sure, but giving up assets that have taken many years and more money requires compensation. Apparently Masri was a long-term goal for the Americans, but I’m still not sure what it is. [merely] Some goodwill. “
However, regional intelligence has a theory as to why the move was leaked three months after the US presidential election.
“I don’t know if the Israelis are ashamed to be reminded [President-elect Joe] Even if you want to start negotiations with Tehran again on the nuclear deal, there is still going to be one issue about the presence of a dozen top Al Qaeda people in Tehran. They are very clear about this, It was even in the newspaper yesterday. “