update deskMiddle East

Mossad chief: 27 Iranian murder plots against Jews and Israelis foiled

David Barnea showed a video he said proves Tehran's supreme leader is directly involved in the efforts to kill Jews.

Mossad Director David Barnea speaks at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at Herzliya's Reichman University, Sept. 10, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/TPS.
Mossad Director David Barnea speaks at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at Herzliya's Reichman University, Sept. 10, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zeliger/TPS.

The Mossad intelligence agency, in cooperation with its international allies, has so far in 2023 foiled 27 plots by Iran to murder Israelis and Jews outside the borders of the Jewish state, the agency’s Director David Barnea revealed on Sunday.

Speaking at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT)’s 22nd World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at Herzliya’s Reichman University, Barnea spoke of a “significant increase in attempts to attack Jews and Israelis worldwide” by what he called “the Terroristic Republic of Iran.”

“The plots being pursued by these [terrorist] teams were orchestrated, masterminded and directed by Iran,” he said, noting that the attempted attacks occurred “all over the world,” including “in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.”

Two weeks ago, Israel’s National Security Council cautioned citizens to remain vigilant while traveling over the upcoming Jewish holiday period. The updated travel warning cited a higher risk of Iranian terrorism in both neighboring and faraway countries including Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as in countries in Africa and Latin America.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have also charged the Islamic Republic with orchestrating the most recent surge in Palestinian terrorism, which saw three Israelis killed and one seriously wounded in just under 72 hours last month.

As part of his remarks on Sunday, Barnea showed a video he said proved beyond a doubt that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is directly involved in murder plots against Jews worldwide. “The Iranian regime is no longer able to deny its involvement, and most importantly, it has no immunity,‎” stated the Mossad head.

“Any harm done to any Israeli or Jew in any way whatsoever will elicit a response against the Iranians who dispatched the terrorists and the policymakers who authorized the terror units to carry out the plots, from the bottom all the way up to the top,” Barnea warned, vowing to exact a price “deep inside Iran, in the heart of Tehran.‎”

Israel’s top spy also spoke about “Iran’s known nuclear weapon ambitions,” calling on the international community to “be on high alert and demonstrate unflagging determination to foil these ambitions.”

“The current dialogue between Iran and the West does not reflect genuine willingness on the part of Iran to curb its nuclear program. Rather, it demonstrates Iran’s cynical attempt to release money frozen as part of the international sanctions imposed on it, while continuing to develop and expand its nuclear capabilities,” he said.

Barnea continued: “We know how the Iranians are operating and planning to make progress in the nuclear program. This is being addressed and will be in the future. I will obviously not expose methods, but we are clearly not standing idly by.‎”

As part of Iran’s rapprochement with Russia, Tehran has tried to sell Moscow short- and long-range missiles in addition to the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that it supplied it for its invasion of Ukraine. This deal was “interdicted,” he said.

“They have intentions to sell other weapons that will also be foiled. Our fear is that the Russians will transfer advanced weapons to the Iranians in return, which will certainly endanger our well-being and maybe even our existence here,” Barnea added.

“On the eve of the High Holidays in the Jewish month of Tishrei, we watch with concern as global terror raises its evil head. We will continue to employ a wide spectrum of methodologies and subterfuge to defend the State of Israel and its citizens,” he said.

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