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Iran military

Israel used ‘killer robot’ machine gun to assassinate Iran nuclear scientist: Report

Published: Updated:

The working theory that Israel had assassinated Iran’s top nuclear scientist last November using a “killer robot” has now been confirmed by American, Israeli, and Iranian officials who spoke to the New York Times.

Prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated east of the capital Tehran on November 27, 2020, while driving with his wife from their vacation home on the Caspian Sea to their country house in Absard.

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Iranian forces carrying the coffin of slain top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during his funeral ceremony in Iran's capital Tehran. (AFP)
Iranian forces carrying the coffin of slain top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh during his funeral ceremony in Iran's capital Tehran. (AFP)

Initially, Iranian officials had said Fakhrizadeh died in hospital due to injuries sustained during a shoot-out between his bodyguards and “armed terrorists.” Later, authorities changed tune and said a machine gun operated by “remote satellite” was the main method of assassination.

“The souped-up, remote-controlled machine gun now joins the combat drone in the arsenal of high-tech weapons for remote targeted killing. But unlike a drone, the robotic machine gun draws no attention in the sky, where a drone could be shot down, and can be situated anywhere, qualities likely to reshape the worlds of security and espionage,” the New York Times reported.

Intelligence officials who spoke to the New York Times said that Iranian agents working for the Israeli Mossad had parked a blue Nissan Zamyad pickup truck on the side of the road connecting Absard to the main highway. Hidden beneath tarpaulins and decoy construction material in the truck bed was a 7.62-mm sniper machine gun. That gun would then be used to assassinate Fakhrizadeh remotely from a sniper 1,000 miles away.

Western officials and experts believe Fakhrizadeh played a pivotal role in past Iranian work to devise the means to assemble a nuclear warhead behind the facade of a declared civilian uranium enrichment program.

He lived in the shadows under high security and was never made available to UN nuclear investigators. Fakhrizadeh rarely - if ever - surfaced in public and few outside Iran know with any certainty what he looked like, let alone had met him.

With Reuters

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