Israel orchestrated and executed the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November, CNN reported citing an anonymous US administration official. The source noted that normally Tel Aviv warns the White House about its upcoming covert operations, but did not elaborate on whether this was the case with Fakhrizadeh murder.
The official also refused to elaborate on whether Washington provided any kind of support to Israel in this attack. CNN’s source added that the US does not expect a retaliatory strike against its forces in the region, since Tehran blames Tel Aviv for the incident. The official reportedly said that Fakhrizadeh has long been in Israel’s crosshairs.
Israel itself has neither confirmed, nor denied its culpability in the scientist’s killing.
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The report comes after The New York Times previously cited another anonymous US official as confirming Iran’s accusations of Israel’s involvement in the hit. Tehran has so far not provided any evidence to back the claim Tel Aviv was behind the murder, but Iran’s PressTV reported that authorities found a logo and specifications from the Israeli defence industry on a weapon allegedly used in the attack.
Several other Iranian media reports suggested that a remotely-controlled weapon was used to kill the scientist. US-based media outlet The Drive suggested that a variant of the Israeli-made remotely-controlled or automated SMASH Hopper might have been used to murder Fakhrizadeh. Smart Shooter, the company that produces those weapons, did not comment on the article.
Tehran vowed to retaliate for the murder of its scientist on 27 November in the Iranian city of Absard. Fakhrizadeh had been working on the country’s nuclear programme, which Iran insists is solely for peaceful purposes.
Tel Aviv, however, has long claimed that Iran seeks to develop its own nuclear weapons and reportedly engaged in a series of attacks on the country’s nuclear sites and scientists in the past, while never acknowledging or denying its involvement.