Iranian spy chief fired over ‘Israeli sabotage’

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JEDDAH: The espionage head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was fired on Thursday following a series of targeted assassinations and sabotage activities in Iran blamed on Israel.

Hossein Taeb, the strong chief of the Guards’ intelligence branch, was fired after Turkey apprehended eight members of an Iranian terror cell plotting to assassinate Israeli tourists in Istanbul.

Iran and Israel have been at odds for years, but tensions have risen as a result of a series of high-profile incidents claimed on Israel. Iran has long accused Israel of damaging its nuclear facilities and assassinating scientists and top commanders.

Ali Kamani, a member of the Guards’ aerospace section, was murdered on June 13 while on a mission in Khomein, Markazi’s central province. Col. Ali Esmailzadeh, commander of the Guards’ foreign operations unit, the Quds Force, died earlier this month after falling from his home’s roof.

On May 22, Guards Col Sayyad Khodai, 50, was shot five times outside his residence in the east of Tehran by gunmen on motorcycles.

In reprisal for this and other incidents, Turkish police believed Iran deployed spies masquerading as businessmen, tourists, and students to Istanbul to assassinate Israelis.

“We’re not just talking about the death of innocent Israeli visitors here, but also about an obvious violation of Turkish sovereignty by Iranian terror.” We are certain that Turkey will respond appropriately to the Iranians on this issue.”

Authorities in Tehran claimed the former intelligence head will become an adviser to the Guards’ commander-in-chief, Hossein Salami. Mohammad Kazemi, who previously led the Guards’ Intelligence Protection unit, will take over for Taeb.

Taeb, a mid-ranking cleric and part of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, was accused by Israeli officials of masterminding the Iranian conspiracy to assassinate or kidnap Israeli tourists in Turkey.

Source: Arab News

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