Israel steps up security for current, ex Mossad officials amid Iran threats – report

Protection particularly increased for overseas travel, TV report says; move comes as shadow war between Jerusalem and Tehran seems to intensify

Iranians prepare to set an Israeli flag on fire next to a picture of late Iranian general Qasem Soleimnai during a rally marking al-Quds (Jerusalem) day in Tehran, on April 29, 2022. (AFP)
Illustrative: Iranians prepare to set an Israeli flag on fire next to a picture of late Iranian general Qasem Soleimani during a rally in Tehran, on April 29, 2022. (AFP)

Israel has stepped up its protection of current and former senior security personnel, particularly when they are overseas, the Kan public broadcaster reported Thursday.

The move came amid increased tensions with Iran, which has repeatedly warned it would seek retaliation against a series of actions reportedly carried out by the Mossad in recent years.

According to the report, a major focus of the increased protective measures is former senior Mossad members currently abroad.

The report did not mention any specific former agent who might be a target.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the report.

Recent attempts by Iran to target Israelis abroad have included the attempted killing of an Israeli-Georgian businessman engaged in pro-Israel activity in Eastern Europe and a plot to target Israeli citizens in Istanbul, Turkey.

A shadow war that has been playing out between Iran and Israel for several years appears to have stepped up its pace.

On Thursday, a group of Iranian hackers called Moses Staff published previously unseen footage of a bombing attack in Jerusalem a day earlier came. The footage was said to come from surveillance cameras used by an unidentified major Israeli security organization.

Footage from a surveillance camera shows a deadly bombing attack in Jerusalem, November 24, 2022. The video was published by an Iranian hacker group. (Screenshot: Telegram)

A day earlier, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps blamed Israel for the killing of a senior aerospace officer near Damascus and vowed to avenge the death. The incident was the latest in a series of senior Iranian officers and nuclear scientists being assassinated or dying in mysterious circumstances in recent months, which Tehran has blamed on Israel.

Jerusalem has never claimed responsibility for the incidents, but reports have pointed to its involvement.

On Tuesday, US Navy investigators confirmed an explosive-laden drone that struck an oil tanker associated with an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman last week was an Iranian Shahed-136.

Last month, Iran claimed it arrested 10 agents working for Israel in the province of West Azerbaijan. The semi-official Fars news agency reported that the individuals carried out operations against Iranian security officials and were in contact with the Mossad intelligence agency.

In a separate incident a few days earlier, Iranian authorities said they had arrested a “Zionist spy” in the southern Kerman province, with a local report citing a local prosecutor who claimed the suspect was an agent of the “Zionist intelligence service,” ostensibly referring to the Mossad.

Iranian leaders have also claimed that popular unrest across the country against the regime’s oppression of women is being orchestrated by Israel and the US.

Iranians protest the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (Photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, Middle East Images/AP)

In addition, Iran seems to have also stepped up its efforts to hunt down what it deems to be “enemies of the regime” abroad.

A Monday report said Israel had recently provided intelligence information to the British authorities that enabled them to foil an Iranian plot to attack UK-based journalists.

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