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World should thank Israel for hit on Iran nuke chief, Israeli official tells NYT

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An unnamed Israeli official told the New York Times on Saturday that the world should thank Israel for the assassination of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons mastermind Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, even as Jerusalem hasn’t officially claimed responsibility for the operation.

The senior official, who according to the report was involved for years in tracking Fakhrizadeh for Israel, also said the country would continue to take any necessary steps against Tehran’s nuclear program.

Brookings Institution researcher Bruce Reidel, a former official at the Central Intelligence Agency with experience in Israel, told the US newspaper that Jerusalem was showing extraordinary levels of ability in striking at key individuals in enemy territory.

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“It’s unprecedented,” Riedel said. “And it shows no sign of being effectively countered by the Iranians.” Bruce Riedel. (Courtesy: Brookings)

Reidel also said that Israel had used its close ties with countries neighboring Iran, such as Azerbaijan, for surveillance and recruitment of operatives, noting the Azeri use of Israeli-made drones in its recent conflict with Armenia, which is presumably a facet of that relationship.

Reidel said the killing of Fakhrizadeh, who died on Friday in a bombing and shooting attack outside Tehran that has been widely attributed to Israel, could be an indication that after a hiatus, the Jewish state was reactivating its network of operatives made up of Iranian immigrants to Israel and Iranian collaborators.

“I think it is a signal that the game is afoot, or coming,” the former intelligence official said.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh was the highpoint of a lengthy Israeli strategic plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and deprives the Islamic Republic of an irreplaceable source of knowledge, Israeli television reported Saturday.

An unnamed Western intelligence source told Channel 12 the killing of the nuclear physicist, described in the past as the “father” of Iran’s project to develop nuclear weapons, was the “pinnacle” of Israel’s long-term plans.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday that the assassination of Fakhrizadeh was a positive thing for the world.

“The assassination in Iran, whoever did it, it serves not only Israel, but the whole region and the........

© The Times of Israel

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