Shin Bet head said to warn Ehud Barak of fears Iran may attack him abroad

Security service chief holds unusual meeting with ex-PM, TV report says; security said bolstered at overseas Israeli, Jewish facilities

Former prime minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, on December 22, 2017. (Flash90)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak in Tel Aviv, on December 22, 2017. (Flash90)

The head of the Shin Bet domestic security service last week visited the home of former prime minister Ehud Barak to discuss the latter’s personal safety, amid reported concerns Iran may be seeking to attempt to target him and other prominent Israelis traveling abroad.

The unusual meeting between Barak, who is also a former defense minister and IDF chief of staff, and Nadav Argaman, first reported by Hadashot TV news on Monday evening, took place at short notice.

Barak frequently travels abroad and does not have bodyguards assigned to him.

Barak, a well-known figure in Israel and overseas, has not had any personal security detail for several years, following a controversial ministerial committee decision.

Head of Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends a Foreign Affairs and Defense committee meeting in the Knesset, July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

He sometimes carries a sidearm, the TV report said.

Neither Barak nor the Shin Bet responded to a request for comment.

Current IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot also made a visit to Barak at his home, six months ago, and attracted criticism for the unusual meeting.

The Iranian leadership regularly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently vowing the Jewish state will soon “perish.” 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during Labor Day at a workers’ meeting, April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Iranian Supreme Leader’s Website /HO)

Security has reportedly been increased recently at Israeli and Jewish facilities in several countries, amid fears of Iranian attempts to retaliate for reported Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.

Tehran has repeatedly vowed revenge on Israel after the T-4 army base in Syria was struck in an air raid — widely attributed to Israel — on April 9, killing at least seven members of the IRGC, including a senior officer responsible for the group’s drone program. Iran used the T-4 base to launch an attack drone carrying explosives into Israel in February; the drone was shot down.

In May some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces from southern Syria, sparking the largest ever direct clash between Jerusalem and Tehran, with Israeli jets targeting numerous Iranian-controlled sites across Syria.

In response, Israel launched an extensive retaliatory campaign, striking suspected Iranian bases throughout Syria for hours following the initial Iranian bombardment.

Israel was also accused of carrying out a strike in Syria on a weapons depot of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in which eight Iranians were among 15 foreign pro-regime fighters killed.

Iranian-proxy Hezbollah has been blamed for attacks against Israelis abroad that caused dozens of deaths over the years.

Iran orchestrated the July 18, 1994, bomb that destroyed the headquarters of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA), leaving 85 dead and 300 people wounded.

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