A fired Iranian armed forces employee has been identified as the ‘main element’ behind the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, intelligence minister of Iran Mahmoud Alavi said on Sunday.
Israel’s feared spy agency (Mossad) was behind the hit, which was carried out by mounting the killing device in a Nissan pickup, Jewish Chronicle (JC) said in a February 13 report.
The Fakhrizadeh hit was carried out by a 20-plus spy team, which comprised both Israeli and Iranian nationals, carried out the high-tech hit after eight months of painstaking surveillance, it said.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, lost his life in a burst of 13 bullets as he travelled with his wife and 12 bodyguards in Absard, near Tehran, on 27 November 2020. Neither his wife nor any of his security team was harmed in the attack, which was carried out using a hyper-accurate automated weapon, JC said quoting Israeli intelligence sources.
“The main perpetrator behind the assassination who was a fired employee of the Armed Forces and had left the country before the operation is currently being prosecuted,” Mahmoud Alavi said on Sunday, according to Tasnim News.
The JC report tallies with some of what Mahmoud Alavi said.
The main element had made arrangements for the assassination of top Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November 2020 has been identified and is being prosecuted, he said.
The intelligence minister said the Israeli regime planned to commit various other acts of mischief in the country since Fakhrizadeh's assassination, but they were all detected and neutralized by Iranian intelligence forces.
He added that a number of other individuals have been also identified with regard to the assassination.
The as yet unknown weapon, operated remotely by agents on the ground as they observed the target, weighed a ton as it included a bomb that destroyed the evidence after the killing.
The Nissan pick-up was the only fully damaged vehicle at the assassination site seen in news images. A Nissan sedan in which Fakhrizadeh was traveling with his wife only had damages to its side and rear, which looked to have been caused by bullet holes.
While earlier, Iranian officials said that the assassins blew up the Nisssan pick-up to "distract" the scientist's car, subsequent Iranian media reports speculated that there no assassins on the ground and that the shooting was carried out by a "remote-satellite controlled weapon."
The weapon used in the Fakhrizadeh assassination is widely suspected to be the SMASH HOPPER Light Remote Controlled Weapon Station developed by Israel based SmartShooter.
Featuring SMASH Fire Control Station (FCS) unique technology, the system provides a modular and light weight solution with one shot one hit accuracy, while the operator controls the system from a safe distance, according to SmartShooter sales literature.
The SMASH HOPPER can be mounted on a light-weight vehicle and is capable of precisely engaging ground targets such as dismounted hostiles and moving vehicles. “The combination of light weight and compact size of the SMASH HOPPER makes the system perfectly suitable for complex environments such as urban areas, where a low operational signature is required,” the literature said.