Assassination plot by Iran’s IRGC targeted prominent Israeli living in Georgia

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Israeli-Georgian businessman Itsik Moshe (Nesi315 CC BY-SA 4.0)
Israeli-Georgian businessman Itsik Moshe (Nesi315 CC BY-SA 4.0)

Security officials in Georgia foiled a recent attempt by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force to kill Itzik Moshe, a prominent Georgian-Israeli living in the capital Tbilisi, The Times of Israel has learned.

This isn’t the first time Iranian forces have tried to attack Moshe, according to an Israeli security official.

Moshe, 62, served as a senior Jewish Agency representative in Russia and founded Israeli House, which seeks to improve Israel’s image in Eastern Europe.

IRGC Quds Force operatives in several countries planned the attack. Under Iranian direction, a Pakistani team affiliated with Al Qaeda flew to Tbilisi to gather intelligence and prepare for the attack.

Since 2011, Mohammad Reza Ebadi Arablu, a Quds Force operative, had been responsible for the terror cell. His commander was Ali Feyzipour, who has been involved in other Iranian terror plots around the world.

The plot was discovered by Georgian security forces when they noticed one of the Pakistani operatives behaving suspiciously. They found weapons in his possession.

In addition, Georgian forces found two Georgian-Iranian dual citizens responsible for passing weapons along to the hit team. They worked with a weapons smuggler in Turkey.

All of the suspects are in Georgian custody and are being interrogated. An investigation continues into others outside of Georgia who were involved in the plot.

Georgian and Israeli security officials spoke after the arrests, says an Israeli security official.

“This isn’t the first time an attempt to carry out a terror attack on Georgian soil with Iranian orders has been revealed,” the official says.

The attempt follows other recent Iranian plots to harm Israelis in the region. In June, Turkey and Israel foiled a plan to attack Israelis in Istanbul, and in October of last year, there was an attempt to kill Israeli businessmen in Cyprus.

The Israeli official says that some European states are considering declaring the IRGC a terror group. “Iran will pay a heavy price in the international theater because of this,” said the official.

There is no new travel warning to Georgia in the wake of the plot, says a National Security Council official.

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