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Mossad said to foil plot by Iran’s IRGC to assassinate Israeli diplomat in Turkey

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The Mossad spy agency foiled a recent Iranian attempt to assassinate an Israeli diplomat working at the consulate in Istanbul, Hebrew-language media reported Saturday.

The outlets said a number of Israeli officials had confirmed earlier reporting of the plot by London-based Iran International, an Iranian opposition news outlet.

Iran International said that in addition to the Israeli worker at the consulate, an American general stationed in Germany and a journalist in France were also targeted in the plot.

According to the unsourced report, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was arrested in an unnamed European country in connection with the planned attack. It was not clear precisely when the plot unfolded.

The suspect was said to have been a member of Unit 840 of the Quds Force, the branch of the IRGC tasked with carrying out overseas operations. He was said to also be connected to drug-smuggling networks.

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According to the report, the suspect told investigators he had received $150,000 for the preparations for the assassinations, and would receive a further $1 million if he killed the three targets.

A view of Istanbul’s skyline with the iconic Galata Tower, Jan. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

There was no official comment on the report from Turkey or Israel.

In February, it was reported that Mossad helped foil 12 plots to carry out terror attacks on Israelis in Turkey over the past two years, most of the plots linked to the Islamic State jihadist group.

Saturday’s reports on the thwarted attack on the Israeli diplomat came the day after al-Quds Day, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, with Iran’s leaders and top generals marking the occasion by railing against Israel and evoking the Jewish state’s destruction.

The reported assassination attempt also comes amid warming ties between Jerusalem and Ankara, and as attempts falter to resurrect the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Last year, Turkish intelligence reportedly thwarted an Iranian plan to assassinate an Israeli-Turkish businessman who lives in Istanbul and owns an engineering company specializing in aerospace technology.

The planned hit was to be a retaliation for the killing of Iranian nuclear chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020, widely attributed to Israel’s Mossad, the reports said, as well as a means to hinder warming relations between Ankara and Jerusalem.

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

In the months following the alleged attempt to kill the Israeli businessman, ties between Israel and Turkey have warmed further still, with President Isaac Herzog meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara last month.

Launched in 2017, Iran International reaches millions of Iranians in Iran and around the world. It is considered an oppositional news outlet to Iran’s regime and has made headlines for covering issues like human rights violations, LGBTQ+ rights and women’s rights in Iran.

In February, former Israeli president and convicted sex offender Moshe Katsav gave a rare interview to the outlet.

In 2018, The Guardian reported that the broadcaster was funded by a firm with ties to Saudi Arabia. Iran International denied the report.

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