Mossad Foiled IRGC Plot to Target Israeli Tourists on Safari in Africa, Israeli Media Claims
12:40 GMT 08.11.2021 (Updated: 12:56 GMT 08.11.2021)
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab ElshamyIn this photo taken Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, an African elephant reacts as Tourists on Safari take photos in Tarangire National Park on the outskirts of Arusha, northern Tanzania
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab Elshamy
Along with a public back-and-forth campaign of hostile rhetoric threatening to blow one another up with missiles and bombs, Tel Aviv and Tehran are known to be engaged in a covert intelligence and cyberwarfare, leading to real-life casualties and damage to infrastructure.
Five African nationals have been arrested on suspicion of receiving training from Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force to target Israeli tourists and businesspeople, Israel’s Channel 12 television channel has reported.
The television channel, which did not attribute its information to any sources, indicated that Mossad foiled the plot, which allegedly involved African recruits trained in Lebanon and operating in three countries disguised as religious students.
Their targets reportedly included Israeli tourists in Tanzania – a popular destination for safari tours, as well as Israeli businessmen working in Ghana and Senegal.
The report did not go into detail about Mossad’s involvement in the operation, and indicated that the five suspects were arrested by local intelligence based information received from “Western” spies (Israel considers itself a ‘Western’ nation).
Channel 12 says all the suspects were detained before they could carry out their deadly missions, and that they are still undergoing questioning. The report did not indicate where or when the arrests took place. Officials in the aforementioned African countries have not commented on the media reporting.
Iran has yet to comment on Channel 12’s report, but previously dismissed earlier claims about its alleged attacks in Cyprus and Colombia as unfounded.
Earlier this year, Israel and its US allies blamed Iran for a deadly attack on an Israeli-owned tanker. Tehran dismissed those allegations as “baseless” and urged the international community to be wary of Israeli “fabrications and false flag operations”.
Israel’s security apparatus has been on edge searching for signs of Iranian ‘revenge attacks’ in the wake of the November 2020 assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied the country’s involvement in the murder, while Iran blamed Tel Aviv directly, dubbed the incident a “terrorist act”, and vowed “revenge” at a time and place of Iran’s choosing.
In May, IRGC Chief Hossein Salami boasted that a string of serious and inexplicable security incidents befalling Israel, including a “controlled” explosion at a rocket factory, a major fire at the Haifa oil refinery, a reported attack on a Mossad safe house in Iraq, a string of cyberattacks targeting Israeli companies, and a Syrian missile explosion 40 km from Israel’s sensitive Dimona nuclear facility, were evidence that the country’s “national security bubble has burst”. Salami went on to warn that in the event of a major conflict with Iran, the narrow geographic space in which Israel’s military has to manoeuvre means that “a first blow can also be the last one”. Israel has not attributed any of the aforementioned incidents to Iran.
On top of back-and-forth threats to attack each other militarily, Israel and Iran have engaged in a major cyberwar, targeting everything from server infrastructure to ports, utilities, and even nuclear facilities. Last month, Iran’s civil defence chief accused Israel and the United States of responsibility for the recent cyberattack on Iran’s gas stations, which crippled hardware connected to cards used by ordinary Iranians to get cheap gasoline at subsidised rates. Iran also blamed Mossad for April’s act of “nuclear terrorism” against the Natanz nuclear plant, which suffered major damage in a cyberattack. Israel neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in that incident.
In September, The Cradle reported that a US and a Israeli commander had been assassinated in northern Iraq in the summer of 2021 in revenge for the January 2020 assassination of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. The Pentagon admitted that one of its senior commanders was killed in June, but said he died in a ‘non-combat event’. Israeli media reported that the Israeli soldier died on 1 July “after collapsing during fitness training at a military base in central Israel”.