April 17, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Thwarts IRGC Quds Force Plot

April 17, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Thwarts IRGC Quds Force Plot

Latest Developments

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, said today it arrested two West Bank Palestinians who were in touch with members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to plot terrorist attacks in Israel. According to the Shin Bet, the suspects — Yussef and Marsil Mansour — agreed to smuggle weapons into the West Bank and gather intelligence on units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The arrest demonstrates the growing challenge of Iran and its network of armed groups attempting to enlist Palestinians to conduct terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Expert Analysis

The regime in Iran continues to deepen its efforts to coordinate among its violent proxies and to recruit potential attackers. The Israeli security services continue to stymie most of these efforts by wielding excellent intelligence. But Iran will continue to try, and there will be successful strikes. The goal is simple: to draw blood and destabilize Israel.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research.

“Iran invests more than $100 million per year in supporting Palestinian terrorist organizations on Israel’s borders. Emboldened by a weak Palestinian Authority and an unstable Israeli political climate, Iran is attempting to export terrorism to the West Bank as part of its strategy to bring a multi-front conflict to Israel’s doorstep.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal.

Quds Force Operatives Exposed

The Shin Bet identified IRGC-QF operatives Huda Mahna and Mohammed Bashir as responsible for recruiting the suspects online. According to the Shin Bet, Mahna and Bashir posed as members of Hezbollah while recruiting Palestinians residing in the West Bank. The Shin Bet noted the investigation uncovered methods used by Hezbollah and the IRGC-QF to recruit Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis. 

Iran Orchestrating a Multi-Front Conflict

IRGC-QF chief Esmail Qaani held a series of meetings in recent weeks with the heads of terrorist organizations in the region, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, his deputy Saleh al-Arouri, and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. During these gatherings, the terrorist leaders finalized plans to launch rockets at Israel from Lebanon. In August 2022, IRGC chief Hossein Salami hinted Iran was responsible for supporting terrorist organizations in the West Bank. “Just as Gaza was armed, the West Bank can be armed in the same way, and this process is currently taking place,” said Salami.

On April 2, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that Iran and Hezbollah were attempting to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel. “We will not allow the Iranians and Hezbollah to harm us. We have not allowed it in the past, we won’t allow it now, or anytime in the future,” said Gallant.

Related Analysis

Iran-backed West Bank Chaos,” by Joe Truzman 

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Palestinian Politics