November 21, 2022 | Flash Brief

Iran Caught Again Trying to Kill Israeli Civilians Abroad

November 21, 2022 | Flash Brief

Iran Caught Again Trying to Kill Israeli Civilians Abroad

Latest Developments 

Georgia’s state security announced last Tuesday the arrest of a Pakistani national affiliated with al-Qaeda and of two Iranian nationals who attempted to murder a prominent Israeli in the capital of Tbilisi. An Israeli media report, citing an unnamed Israeli security official, said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force orchestrated the assassination attempt, which sought to target Israeli-Georgian businessman Itzik Moshe. Georgian security alleged the would-be attacker received weapons from Iranian citizens living in the country via drop-offs and hideouts.

Expert Analysis

“The arrest of operatives in Tbilisi acting under the guidance of the Quds Force demonstrates Iran has not abandoned its attempts to murder Israelis abroad. The use of an al-Qaeda affiliate shouldn’t come as a surprise due to Iran’s extensive history of training, funding, and providing other material support to al-Qaeda and its partners.”
Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

A History of Iranian Plots Against Israelis Abroad

Operatives acting under Iranian guidance have attempted to murder Israelis in multiple countries. On October 4, 2021, Israel accused Iran of orchestrating a plot to murder Israelis in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. Local authorities reportedly conducted surveillance on a 38-year-old Azeri national using a Russian passport for several weeks before they arrested him. They found a pistol and a silencer in his rental car.

The following month, Quds Force operatives conspired against Israelis visiting Ghana, Senegal, and Tanzania. Under the guise of studying religion, five suspects arrested by local authorities reportedly trained in Lebanon, where the Iranian proxy Hezbollah constitutes the dominant political force. Among the targets whom the suspects scouted were Israelis on a safari in Tanzania.

In June 2022, Turkish intelligence in cooperation with Israel’s Mossad thwarted an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists, including former Israeli Consul General in Istanbul Yossi Levi-Sfari and his partner. Local police and Turkish intelligence arrested 10 suspects consisting of Iranian intelligence assets and IRGC operatives who posed as students and tourists.

Iran’s Relationship with al-Qaeda

Despite sectarian differences, al-Qaeda and Iran have a history of cooperation when mutual interests intersect. The IRGC and Lebanese Hezbollah have provided al-Qaeda operatives with weapons, including explosives training. In August 2022, a photograph surfaced of al-Qaeda leaders, including Saif al-Adel, a possible successor to former emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the capital of Tehran.

Related Analysis

Rare photo surfaces of top Al Qaeda leaders inside Iran,” by Bill Roggio

Iran Targets Salman Rushdie,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel