Mossad Carries Out Interrogation on Iranian Soil
Mossad Carries Out Interrogation on Iranian Soil
Mossad Carries Out Interrogation on Iranian Soil
Israeli media reported that Mossad had detained and questioned Mansour Rasouli, an alleged member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on Iranian territory for his involvement in a plot to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Turkey. The Israeli reports contradicted earlier accounts that Rasouli had been detained in an unspecified European country for his connection to the planned attack against the Israeli diplomat, who works at the consulate in Istanbul. According to the news reports, Mansour Rasouli, 52, admitted to Mossad agents during an interrogation at his home in Iran that he was sent to target the Israeli diplomat, as well as an American general stationed in Germany and a journalist in France, as a part of Quds Force’s Unit 840. Israeli Channel 12 added, without citing a source, that the Shin Bet security agency — which generally operates within Israel — also participated in the detention in Iran. UANI’s Policy Director Jason Brodsky said, “this latest incident is part of a long history of the Islamic Republic’s state terrorism. It also proves that delisting the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization would be wholly inappropriate, and it should remain sanctioned as one so long as it continues to employ assassinations and similar tools as a part of Tehran’s statecraft.” He added, “the operations in Europe are also troubling as EU sanctions on the IRGC, including the Quds Force, are scheduled to be lifted next year under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This is one of the reasons why this agreement is so problematic.”
Deputy Secretary-General of Badr Organization Dies in a Car Crash
The Deputy Secretary General of the Iran-backed Badr Organization in Iraq Abu Maryam al-Ansari died in a fatal car accident in Maysan province’s Ali al-Sharqi town on Friday, Iraqi state media reported. Few other details were available about the incident, but two other people who were traveling with al-Ansari were killed in the car along with him. The Secretary-General of the Badr Organization Hadi al-Amiri noted al-Ansari’s role in the “jihad against the tyrant” and “tireless political work.” He added, al-Ansari “was a sincere brother, a brave advocate, a companion in the path of his peers, and an example for the believers with insights connected to their sacred message.”
Pictures emerged on Friday of al-Ansari fighting with the IRGC against the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. al-Ansari later took part in drafting the Iraqi constitution in 2005 and served as a municipalities and public works minister in the Iraqi government of Haider al-Abadi in 2014.
New U.S. Report on Iran-Backed Militias Coordinating with the PKK
According to a new report from the Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve, U.S. military intelligence believes Iran-backed militias have been coordinating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, to launch attacks on Turkey’s military in northern Iraq. The report says, “the DIA assessed that the militias probably will continue to coordinate with the…PKK…in response to Turkish air and UAV strikes on PKK positions.” The report adds, “the militias probably calculate that their attacks against Turkey will deter Turkey from attacking the PKK in federal Iraq while enhancing their public image as defenders of Iraqi sovereignty.”
Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Terror Attack in Elad
A deadly terrorist attack took place in Elad on Thursday, which resulted in three Israelis being murdered and four others being wounded. The terrorists used an axe and a knife in the operation. A massive manhunt is underway on Friday after Israeli security officials identified two suspects—As’ad Yousef As’ad al-Rifa’i, 19, and Subhi Emad Subhi Abu Shqeir, 20, from Rumana near Jenin—as being the main perpetrators. According to Army Radio, the two suspects have not previously been involved in terror activities, have never been jailed, and are not thought to be affiliated with any terror organization.
Nevertheless, Hamas spokesman Qassem Hazem told Al-Aqsa TV that the Elad “operation” was “part of our people’s anger at the Occupation’s assaults on the holy sites. The storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque could not pass without punishment, and the heroic Tel Aviv (sic) operation was the implementation of the Resistance’s warning that Al-Aqsa is a red line.” UANI’s Policy Director Jason Brodsky observed, “the Elad attack took place days after Hamas’ military wing claimed responsibility for a prior attack in Ariel and after Hamas’ leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar incited Palestinians to engage in terrorism using axes and knives.” “While authorities do not believe the two main suspects had a specific affiliation with an existing Palestinian militant group, Hamas’ specific instructions—including recommendations on tools of terror—cannot be ignored as a leading cause for these murders,” he added.
Clashes Resume on Temple Mount Amidst Incitement by Hamas
Clashes resumed between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators atop the Temple Mount on Thursday, as the holy site was reopened to Jewish visitors and worshippers were escorted by a heavy police detail following a 12-day period during which the Israeli government had barred Jewish visitors from the compound. Some of the Jewish visitors displayed the Israeli flag or sang Israel’s national anthem during their visit, causing Israeli security forces to prohibit them from doing so. Police said that dozens of Palestinian rioters began hurling rocks and other objects toward security forces, however the forces were able to quickly restore the peace. Palestinian media reported the police used tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets against rioters.
The clashes do not appear to have been entirely spontaneous. Several Palestinian militant groups linked to Iran have been agitating for resumed clashes all week. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for example, accused Israeli police of disconnecting the muezzin’s speaker Al-Aqsa on Tuesday night so as not to interfere with Israel’s Memorial Day opening ceremony. Israeli police denied these and other false claims intended by the groups to instigate violence atop the holy site. However, the Palestinian militant groups did not relent. On Wednesday, Mohammad Deif, the head of Hamas’ military arm, the Izzeldine Al-Qassam Brigades, issued a “final warning to the occupation,” that Israel would pay a heavy price “if it does not cease its violations against our people in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah.” Hamas also issued a call to Palestinians, including its supporters, to travel to and congregate atop the Temple Mount. It called on them to “defend Jerusalem and foil the [Israeli] plot to implement a temporal and territorial division on Al-Aqsa,” a baseless claim that Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have been circulating recently to inflame tensions in Jerusalem by claiming Israel intends to change the status quo atop the Temple Mount. Per Hamas-linked Al-Resalah, it appears that at least some of the rioters involved in Thursday’s clashes were Hamas supporters, as the media outlet released photographs of individuals draped in the group’s flag inside Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Palestinian militant groups continued their attempts to inflame tensions as the clashes occurred. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for “escalation and comprehensive confrontation with the occupation,” and threatened that the visits of Jews to the Temple Mount – which it and other Palestinian groups termed “storming” of the holy site – would be met with an “explosion of Palestinian and Arab anger.” Hamas also issued a statement, praising the demonstrators for their “heroism,” and calling the “storming by groups of Zionist settlers of Al-Aqsa mosque…a dangerous escalation and direct provocation, that will lead to a general explosion….” Hamas noted that the “battle” over Al-Aqsa was open-ended, and would extend to “all of Palestine’s lands.” Hamas’ statement, issued by Ismail Haniyeh, ended with the boastful triumphalism now typical of Resistance Axis faction statements, saying “these Zionists were forced to enter Al-Aqsa in fear, they were disgraced, and terror filled their hearts. For the defenders of Al-Aqsa forced them to hide their flags and leave defeated.”
UANI’s Director of Lebanon, Israel, and Syria Research David Daoud commented that, “Hamas and Palestinian factions allied with Iran want to maintain the Temple Mount as a flashpoint for violence to keep pressure upon Israel. There are several reasons for this, including a desire to use general Arab and Islamic sensitivity surrounding Al-Aqsa to hinder ongoing Israeli-Arab normalization efforts and, just as critically, to undermine efforts by moderate Arab Israeli leaders like Mansour Abbas and his Ra’am Party to build a common sense of citizenship between Arab and Jewish Israelis. Iran and Hezbollah used Palestinian factions like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a similar manner during the 1990s to undermine efforts to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace during the Oslo Accords negotiations.”
Yahya Sinwar Attacks Mansour Abbas, Threatens Synagogues Worldwide
During his first major speech since May 2021 on Saturday, Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar launched a verbal attack on Ra’am Party chairman Mansour Abbas. Sinwar referred to Abbas as “Abu Righal,” a treacherous figure in pre-Islamic lore, and called Abbas’ decision to join the Israeli government “an unforgivable crime.” He also attacked Abbas for repeatedly acknowledging the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, calling it the “height of degeneracy” for an Arab to do so.
In an interview with Israeli Channel 12 News, Abbas brushed off Sinwar’s attacks, saying “we don’t owe anything to Yahya Sinwar or anyone else. We are what is good for the Arab community [in Israel] and Palestinians.” Abbas added that the process he and his Ra’am Party had started, “of partnership, of tolerant dialogue” would “advance comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” and not just accrue benefits for Arab Israelis.
Officials within Ra’am also echoed Mansour Abbas, calling Sinwar’s speech “incitement,” and insisting that Sinwar “deal with Gaza and we will deal with Israeli Arabs.” However, they also expressed their displeasure that Abbas had responded to Sinwar, saying “we have no interest to interest to tangle with Hamas.”
During his speech, Sinwar also threatened to ignite a “regional war” if Israel “violated” the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Gesturing to a photo showing clashes atop the Temple Mount and police inside Al-Aqsa, Sinwar threatened that “whomever decides to allow this image to be repeated, will have decided to allow the violation of thousands of synagogues around the world.”
Sinwar also praised the recent wave of terror attacks against Israelis and urged Arab Israelis to kill their Jewish compatriots. “To our people living inside the occupation state, let anyone who has a gun use it, and anyone who doesn’t have a gun, let him use…any knife he can get,” he said.
UANI’s Director of Lebanon, Israel, and Syria Research David Daoud said, “Hamas and its Iranian sponsor have an interest in exacerbating the existing tensions and fissures between Jewish and Arab Israelis. Mansour Abbas’ attempts to bridge those gaps through productive cooperation with Jewish counterparts, if given the proper amount of time, could heal those societal wounds and even create the groundwork for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. This poses a threat to Hamas and Iran’s regional project. That project needs Palestine and the Palestinian issue to remain an ‘open wound’ preventing general Arab-Israeli peace. They are therefore seeking to derail it by delegitimizing Abbas and increasing suspicion between Arab and Jewish Israelis by asking the former to carry out attacks against the latter.”
Hamas Claims Responsibility for Terror Attack in Ariel
Last Friday night, Vyacheslav Golev, 23, was killed by two Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank settlement of Ariel while on security guard duty. In a rare move, Hamas’ military arm, the Izzeldine al-Qassam Brigades, issued an official statement declaring its “total responsibility” for the attack, vowing it would “not be the last,” and “considered it one link in the chain of our responses to the aggression against Al-Aqsa.”
Shin Bet Uncovers Iranian Network to Recruit Israelis
Israel’s Shin Bet revealed the existence of an Iranian intelligence network aiming to recruit Israeli citizens with the goal of gathering intelligence and carrying out attacks on targets within Israel. The Iranian agents established contact with the Israelis through a fake Facebook profile under the name “Sarah Puppi,” presenting itself as a young Jewish woman with contacts and business in Israel.
Shin Bet said it had been monitoring the Iranian operation from the outset. According to Shin Bet, the profile had acquired thousands of “friends” in a short time period, most of whom were Israelis. After establishing initial contact with individuals on Facebook, the profile then moved to establish contact with them through WhatsApp. The operator behind the “Sarah Puppi” profile then asked their Israeli contacts – not knowing some of them were Shin Bet agents – to gather information on Israelis of interest to Iranian intelligence. The Iranian operative also used pressure and monetary inducements – transferred to the Israeli contacts through Bitcoin – to try to get their Israeli contacts to carry out attacks against such Israelis, and even used romantic and emotional manipulation to accomplish this goal.
The Iranian agent behind the profile used a cover story to assign various tasks to their contacts, including a request for revenge against those who allegedly owed “Sarah” money, a desire to harm personal opponents, and even to carry out attacks against LGBT individuals in general.
The Iranian agent also tried to stoke Russian-Israeli tensions by asking its Israeli contacts to put up “inciting” billboards against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Iranian operative also tried to use their contacts to gather intelligence on Arab diplomats and businessmen in Israel.
UANI’s Director of Lebanon, Israel, and Syria research David Daoud noted that “Iranian intelligence and its Resistance Axis proxies, particularly Hezbollah, have operated for years through various channels and means to cause harm within Israel. Playing different angles, their operations are intended to identify targets for attack within Israel, gather intelligence in the case of a future conflict, and to stoke social tensions within Israeli society, with the goal of creating and exacerbating social divisions and hindering normalization efforts. The attempt to instigate attacks against LGBTQ Israelis, for example, is intended to exacerbate right-left and religious-secular fissures, while the attempt to carry out attacks on Arab diplomats and businessmen seeks to hinder ongoing normalization between Israel and Arab states. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary proxy, has tapped into criminal networks operating across the Lebanese-Israeli border, and with contacts within the criminal underworld within the Arab Israeli community to exacerbate tensions between Jewish and Arab Israelis,” he added.