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Turkey's intelligence foils Iranian assassination of Israeli businessman

Turkish-Israeli businessman Yair Geller [@AmichaiStein1/Twitter]
Turkish-Israeli businessman Yair Geller [@AmichaiStein1/Twitter]

Turkey's intelligence agency uncovered a plot by Iranian agents to assassinate a Turkish-Israeli businessman, in what is amid Tehran's latest covert activities being carried out within Turkey.

According to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, the attempt to assassinate the Turkish-Israeli businessman Yair Geller – who owns a research and development company named CNC Advance Technologies – was averted in the autumn following an investigation and surveillance campaign lasting months.

The team of nine people, led by Iranian operatives and directed by an Iran-based intelligence officer named Yasin Taheremamkendi, reportedly photographed Geller's house and place of work, using multiple Turkish and Iranian phone numbers to avoid counter-intelligence surveillance.

Upon learning of their plot, Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) moved Geller to a safe house in the city of Istanbul, where he was then put under the protection of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

The suspects, who included seven Turkish citizens, were then apprehended and arrested. The paper Sabah stated that "Iranian citizen Saleh Moshtagh Bigohouz was the Turkey officer for the cell. He and eight others have been arrested on related charges and sent to prison."

READ: Turkey arrests Iran consulate diplomat over dissident assassination case

Speaking to Israel's KAN news channel, Geller said "I am an Israeli businessman in Turkey. I have an R&D engineering company and one day I was informed that the Iranians were following me and wanted to assassinate me. I was advised to travel to Israel immediately. I decided to stay in Turkey." He added that "I appreciate and thank everyone who took care to protect me."

The uncovering and busting of the assassination attempt comes at a time when a series of other such attempts have been conducted and led by Iranian operatives in Turkey, usually against Iranian dissidents.

The last case was the attempted kidnapping of the Iranian dissident Shahnam Golshani last month, which reportedly resulted in the MIT detaining 11 suspects.

The attempt on Geller's life, however, was specifically meant as a response to Israel's assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in 2020.

Categories
Europe & RussiaIranIsraelMiddle EastNewsTurkey
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