Middle East/North Africa

Israel killed Iran's top nuclear scientist with remote sniper rifle: report

Israeli agents killed Iran's top nuclear scientist late last year using a remote-controlled machine gun and artificial intelligence, according to a report from The New York Times.  

Iranian intelligence knew an attack was likely against Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, but major breaches of security protocols enabled the assassination, sourced told the Times. 

On the day of the killing, Nov. 27, Fakhrizadeh insisted he drive his wife from their vacation home near the Caspian Sea to a country home in Absard.

Though security measures were in place to protect Fakhrizadeh along the way, an Israeli assassin was able to identify and assassinate him from 1,000 miles away using a satellite-controlled machine gun capable of shooting up to 600 rounds per minute, the Times reported.

Fakhrizadeh had been a top target of Israel for more than a decade, as the country viewed him as the leader of Iran's clandestine efforts to build a nuclear bomb. 

"Remember that name," former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a 2018 news conference, according to the report. "Fakhrizadeh."

A previous attempt to assassinate Fakhrizadeh was compromised and called off in 2009.

Israeli agents rushed to carry out the assassination late last year after then-President-elect Joe Biden promised to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Israel worried the Biden administration would oppose the assassination, as it could further hamper negotiations with Iran. 

Israel has carried out various attacks on Iranian nuclear-related sites since 2004, and its agents have assassinated five of Fakhrizadeh's colleagues since 2007, the Times reported. 

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