(by Lee Brown, New York Post) –[ Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated on Friday]. The assassination was carried out by a highly trained hit squad of 62 people — pouncing in six vehicles after the local power supply was cut, according to local reports.
The killers — who Iranian officials accuse Israel of sending — included a team of 50 giving “logistical support” to the (twelve) who carried out the actual ambush Friday, Iranian government sources told leading Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze.
All involved had “entered special training courses, as well as security and intelligence services abroad,” Ahwaze tweeted, as translated by ELINT News.
[The team had been watching Fakhrizadeh, and knew that he was going to be driving from Tehran to Absard on Friday. The mountain retreat of 10,000 people is where many well-off Tehranis have second homes, and Fakhrizadeh, 59, had a villa there].
“The team knew exactly the date and course of the movement of the Fakhrizadeh protection convoy in the smallest details,” Ahwaze’s sources told him, allowing them to cut the scientist off as he went to his private villa in Absard.
Shortly before Fakhrizadeh drove through their ambush site, the team “cut off the electricity completely from this area” to slow reports of their assassination and any calls for help, the reporter said.
Fakhrizadeh was traveling in the middle of three bulletproof cars, with the killers striking after the first car entered a roundabout, the report said.
A booby-trapped Nissan was then detonated to block the car behind Fakhrizadeh — as 12 gunmen…arriving in a Hyundai Santa Fe and four motorbikes [attacked his vehicle], Ahwaze tweeted.
“After the car bomb was detonated, 12 operatives opened fire towards Fakhrizadeh’s car and the first protection vehicle,” his thread said.
None of the hit squad were wounded or arrested during the gunbattle with the Iranian’s bodyguards, Ahwaze said.
Friday’s attack has dramatically escalated tensions between Iran and Israel, which was quickly accused of ordering the hit.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed “definitive punishment of the perpetrators and those who ordered it.”
He called Fakhrizadeh “the country’s prominent and distinguished nuclear and defensive scientist,” … [while observers refer to him as the “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program].
A hard-line Iranian newspaper ran an opinion peice Sunday that urged Iran to attack the Israeli port city of Haifa in the hopes of causing “heavy human casualties” in retaliation. …
The Iranian parliament also held a closed-door hearing about Fakhrizadeh’s killing on Sunday, with lawmakers chanting“Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!”
Afterward, parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf told Iranian state radio that there would be harsh retaliation because “the criminal enemy does not regret it except with a strong reaction.”
In response, Israel put its embassies around the world on high alert after Iranian threats of retaliation following the killing of a nuclear scientist near Tehran, Israeli N12 news reported.
UN nuclear inspectors claim Fakhrizadeh’s military nuclear program was disbanded in 2003. But Israeli [and most of the world know Iran has not ended its quest to develop nuclear weapons].
Amos Yadlin, a one-time head of Israeli military intelligence who now serves as the director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, alleged Fakhrizadeh ran “all covert activities with weaponization of the program.”
The damage of his death “cannot be measured since nobody knows exactly the scope and the depth what the Iranians are doing covertly,” Yadlin said. “But no doubt that he was the core source of authority, knowledge and organization of this program.”
Israel, suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade, has not commented on the slaying of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Israel’s cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi insisted he had “no clue” who was behind it. “It’s not that my lips are sealed because I’m being responsible, I really have no clue,” Hanegbi, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told N12’s Meet the Press, according to YNet. …
With Post wires
Published at nypost .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Post.
1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)
2. Where did Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze get information on the assassination?
3. What information did Mr. Ahwaze report about the assassination team?
4. a) How was the team able to hit Mr. Fakhrizadeh while he was traveling in a convoy of 3 bulletproof vehicles with many heavily armed bodyguards?
b) What did the team do to slow down reports of their assassination and allow them to escape?
5. The Iranian regime responded to the killing with threats and the usual chants by lawmakers of “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” What action did Israel take in response?
6. Read the “Background” below and see some of the links under “Resources.” Israel has not taken responsibility for the assassination of the “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. For what reason would Israel (as well as many of Iran’s Arab neighbors in the region) want to take out Iranian nuclear weapons scientists?
7. What is your reaction to the team’s ability to carry out such a precise hit on a highly valued nuclear weapons scientist (the regime had him protected by a team of bodyguards) in Iran?
IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:
- Iran’s 20 year secret nuclear program was discovered in 2002. Iran says its program is for fuel purposes only, but it has been working on uranium enrichment which is used to make nuclear bombs. [NOTE ON URANIUM ENRICHMENT: Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to monitor and control enriched uranium supplies and processes in its efforts to ensure nuclear power generation safety and curb nuclear weapons proliferation (buildup).]
- Under the United Nations’ NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty) countries are not allowed to make nuclear weapons (except for the 5 that had nuclear weapons prior to the treaty – the U.S., Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom).
- Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
- The IAEA has consistently stated it is unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
- The IAEA issued a report on Sept. 15, 2008 that said Iran has repeatedly blocked an investigation into its nuclear program and the probe is now deadlocked.
- The U.N. Security Council has already imposed four sets of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear defiance. Despite the sanctions, Iran has refused to end its nuclear program.
- A group of U.S. and Russian scientists said in a report issued in May 2009 that Iran could produce a simple nuclear device in one to three years and a nuclear warhead in another five years after that. The study, published by the nonpartisan EastWest Institute, also said Iran is making advances in rocket technology and could develop a ballistic missile capable of firing a 2,200-pound nuclear warhead up to 1,200 miles “in perhaps six to eight years.”
- The Iranian government has called for the destruction of Israel on numerous occasions. It is believed that once obtained, the Iranian regime would use nuclear weapons against Israel.
Watch a November 27, 2020 Sky News report:
In January 2020, U.S. forces killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was the leader of the elite Quds Force, the division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that conducts spying and terrorist operations outside Iran. This U.S. military success is comparable to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Read “Iran’s Top General Is Dead. What You Need to Know” (Jan. 7, 2020)
and “Iraq: The events that led to US killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani” (Jan. 7, 2020)
Read how Iran’s authoritarian rulers treat their own people: “Iran regime may have killed 1,000 citizens during protests” (Dec. 10, 2019)
“U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel: ‘Iran supports terrorists’” (April 2018)
Daily “Answers” emails are provided for Daily News Articles, Tuesday’s World Events and Friday’s News Quiz.