As Iran expands its drone army across the Middle East, Israel will likely consider extreme actions to neutralize the growing threat. One possibility is an extensive strike on UAV bases, but another option is a high-profile assassination operation.
Israel views General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the IRGC Aerospace Force, as a legitimate target for elimination, The Jerusalem Center reported recently. Defense officials could order a lethal strike when the timing is right, the research institute said.
Notably, the aerospace chief holds radical views and threatened to destroy Israel if it triggers a war with Tehran.
Hajizadeh plays a central in drone attacks on Israeli, American, and Saudi targets in the region, the Center said. The top commander elevated his status considerably after the killing of Quds Force chief Qasem Suleimani, the report added.
Mossad’s network in Iran
Israel’s intelligence arms have been closely monitoring Hajizadeh’s activities for months, according to journalist Ronen Bergman. Mossad is believed to deploy numerous agents inside Iran, but the regime’s security forces apparently failed to expose this vast network.
Israel reportedly recruited foreign operatives to execute some of the most sensitive missions on Iranian soil, including targeted killings.
For now, the IDF has stepped up its strikes on Iranian assets in Syria, reportedly focusing on UAVs and air defense systems delivered by Tehran. However, defense officials may conclude that the military campaign is not sufficient to minimize the expanding drone threat.
Israel allegedly carried out two assassinations in Iran last year, killing its nuclear chief and Al-Qaeda’s deputy commander. There have been no high-profile operations of this kind since then, as far as is known. This would leave plenty of time for agents to go back into hiding, and for Mossad’s planners to devise new moves.
Earlier this year, new Mossad chief David Barnea warned that Israel is working on more covert operations inside Iran. Sooner or later, plans could be in place to eliminate key regime figures, such as General Hajizadeh.