Israel 'welcomes' assassination of top Syrian weapons expert

Israel 'welcomes' assassination of top Syrian weapons expert

Kerry Wise
August 9, 2018

However, citing a senior official from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency, the Times reports that the bomb was actually planted by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

General Aziz Asbar, head of a Syrian government weapons research centre, was killed along with his driver when the bomb hit his vehicle on Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Syrian Scientific Research Centre has always been a focus of global efforts to curtail Syria's capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons.

The report said that Isber was working alongside Maj Gen Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite al-Quds Force and enjoyed high level access to both the Syrian and Iranian governments.

Israel's minister of intelligence says he "welcomes" news that a Syrian scientist was killed by a vehicle bomb, even as Tel Aviv denies any part in the murder. The center has been targeted in two air attacks that have been attributed to Israel, including one in April that killed several Iranians. "Every time, they try to place the blame on us", Lieberman told Israel's Channel 2 News.

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The Israelis believed Asbar led a secret unit called Sector 4 which aimed to develop precision-guided missiles in Syria which could threaten Israel. He said it was the fourth time in three years the Mossad has assassinated an enemy weapons engineer in a foreign country.

Asbar headed the Maysaf research center in Hama, which was hit by Israeli air strikes last month and in September a year ago, the Observatory said. Some Israeli reports said the Syrian scientist was involved in Iranian missile programme.

Israel has carried out numerous strikes inside Syria since 2017, according to the Observatory, targeting government forces and their allies from Iran and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The Britain-based watchdog group said the man had close ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran.