Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency revealed the thrilling raid on Iranian soil and arrest of a man who led a terrorist cell in Cyprus that aimed to kill Israelis on the island.
“We will reach whoever foments terrorism against Jews and Israelis around the world, including on Iranian soil,” a senior Mossad official said in a statement released Thursday along with a video confession from Yusef Shahabazi Abbasalilu, the head of the Iranian cell.
Abbasalilu reportedly received detailed instructions and weapons from senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members in Iran before traveling to Cyprus, where he and his operatives planned to kill Israeli businesspeople.
Cypriot authorities announced earlier in the week that they had apprehended several members of a cell of Iranian-affiliated terrorists, thwarting a planned attack. Abbasalilu alone was able to elude capture and returned to Iran.
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But Mossad carried out a counterterrorist operation on Iranian soil, finally capturing Abbasalilu.
He revealed all the details of the operation of the cell as well as his involvement in an attempted assassination and how he tried to carry it out, including hiding a weapon. He said the group had carried out an assassination in the past and that they helped him illegally enter the Greek part of the island from the Turkish held north.
His confession allowed the Cypriot security services to fully dismantle the remainder of the terrorist cell in the country.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the efforts of the Mossad agents and underscored the commitment to “harm with great force” those who try to attack Israel or its people.
“We are working without respite against the attempts of Iran and its proxies to open terrorist fronts against us – in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said. “We are also working against Iran’s efforts to develop terrorist cells and capabilities in neighboring countries, which are not countries in conflict with us.”
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“We will not allow Iran to establish itself on our borders,” he said. “We will not allow it to build precision weapons factories in Lebanon and Syria. And, of course, we will not accept Iran’s intentions to develop a nuclear arsenal.”
“Even if an agreement is signed between the U.S. and Iran regarding the latter’s nuclear program, we will not be bound by this agreement,” he added.
“We will maintain our right and our obligation to defend ourselves, with our own forces, against any threat whatsoever, throughout the Middle East. The air force has, and will have, a very important role in this.”