TEHRAN (JWN and agencies)–Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced on Tuesday that its forces have uncovered and arrested “a large and sophisticated Israeli terror and sabotage network” after months of investigation, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported.
The ministry announced that its forces “have discovered one of the biggest terror and sabotage networks of the Quds Occupying Regime [Israel] and protected cells of its operatives and arrested groups of criminal terrorists and mercenaries cooperating with them.”
The Iranian announcement was long on rhetoric but short on information, hinting that the intelligence operations were conducted along Iran’s borders as well as in a neighboring “central” country. This is presumably Azerbaijan, which was recently reported to have concluded a deal with Israel involving a large sale of sophisticated arms in exchange for the use of one or more Azeri airfields in a possible strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
The ministry statement added that “the complicated and months-long measures and moves made by the Iranian intelligence forces to identify the devils led to the discovery of the Zionists’ regional command center in one of the regional countries and discovering the identity of the agents active in that command center.”
The ministry also said that the arrests had foiled several terrorist attacks in Iran in coming days, since “a number of operating cells of this terror network were arrested as they were preparing for new terrorist operations.” Large caches of ammunition, weapons, and military and telecommunication tools and equipment were seized in the operation, Fars reported.
Iran has accused Israel of being behind the killings of several of its nuclear scientists. The Islamic Republic blamed Israel in January when a nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran.
Last month, the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported that Egyptian security forces thwarted an attempt by Iran to blow up an Israeli ship in the Suez Canal. Two Egyptians were arrested in the plot and under interrogation revealed that they had been operated by Iranian agents.
Israel has warned Cairo that Hezbollah terrorist cells in Egypt—including the Suez Canal—have been planning attacks in the past. Israeli officials have reportedly warned recently that Iran is setting up a terrorist infrastructure inside Egypt to prepare for an operation.
Both Iran’s official IRNA news agency and the semi-official Fars said details of the intelligence operation would be released later. However, Iran periodically announces the capture or execution of alleged US or Israeli spies, and often no further information is released.