- Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was on Israel’s hit list since 2007.
- In November 2020, the Mossad pulled off a hit using a remote-controlled, AI-powered machine gun.
- It was controlled by operatives outside of Iran, who killed Fakhrizadeh in under a minute, per NYT.
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The “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons program was at the top of Israel’s hit list for 14 years. On November 27 2020, after a failed attempt to kill him a decade earlier, the Mossad finally managed to assassinate Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Their weapon of choice? A remote-controlled machine gun that required no on-site operatives and utilized advanced artificial intelligence technology, according to a report by The New York Times.
The deadly weapon was a special model of a Belgian-made FN MAG machine gun, which was attached to an advanced robotic apparatus, The New York Times reported.
It weighed about a ton and was controlled by Mossad operatives outside of Iran, thus ensuring the safety of Israeli agents, intelligence officials told the media outlet.
In order to get the weapon into the country, The Times said, it was smuggled into Iran piece by piece and was secretly assembled in time for the hit.
The Mossad had been following Fakhrizadeh since 2007, The Times reported, and the Israeli national intelligence agency reportedly set in motion plans to assassinate him in late 2019 after discussions with former President Donald Trump and high-ranking US officials.
Fakhrizadeh was a top target because Israeli intelligence officials said he was leading Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear bomb.
Israeli had considered a variety of methods to assassinate Fakhrizadeh, according to The Times, and the Mossad had weighed up detonating a bomb near his armed convoy, forcing him to halt, and attacking him with snipers. The plan was shelved.
Instead, the remote-controlled machine gun idea was floated. The New York Times reported that the computerized weapon was attached to an abandoned-looking pickup truck, which was fixed with cameras and explosives. It was positioned at a major junction on Fakhrizadeh’s route to his country home by Iranian agents working with the Mossad,
Once Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle arrived at the junction, in November 2020, Mossad operatives outside of Iran used the cameras to positively identify their target and unleashed a hail of bullets from the remote-controlled machine gun.
He got out of his car, The New York Times said, and was hit with three more bullets that “tore into his spine.” Reportedly, his bodyguards looked confused as they could not see an obvious assailant.
The kill took less than 60 seconds and only injured Fakhrizadeh, the paper reported.
The explosives on the pickup truck were supposed to damage the machine gun beyond repair but, instead, remained largely intact.
As a consequence, The Times said, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were able to correctly assess that a remote-controlled machine gun “equipped with an intelligent satellite system” using artificial intelligence had carried out the attack.