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New details on intelligence agents’ boat deaths in Italy

June 3, 2023 at 10:30 am

The recent flood seriously affected the city and days later it is the only area still under water in Conselice, Emilia Romagna on May 23, 2023 [Andrea Carrubba – Anadolu Agency]

Five days after the Gooduria boat sank in Lake Maggiore in northern Italy in an accident resulting in the deaths of four people, including a former senior Israeli Mossad officer, new details are still emerging about what is known in the media as the “intelligence agents’ disaster.”

Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Friday published that Israeli and Italian intelligence officers participated in an operation against the proliferation of unconventional weapons.

According to the report, they implemented measures to prevent “hostile elements” from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. This specifically included nuclear weapons, biological weapons and advanced technologies that can already be used by civilian industries and for military purposes, such as ballistic missiles.

Officials in Rome revealed to Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth that the presence of 13 Mossad agents and eight Italian intelligence men on board the boat was not for recreation but rather for an operation aimed at working against one target – Iran.

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The sources shared: “All the directions of the investigation and all the reports that have arrived, despite the lack of official investigation and without the ability to confirm them, indicate that Iran is the target of the Mossad operation.”

According to La Repubblica’s predictions, the operation, which ended in a catastrophic disaster on the lake due to a sudden and strong storm, was aimed at preventing these “dual use” technologies from reaching: “A country in the Middle East that is very interested in obtaining strategic materials.” The newspaper also wrote: “It is useless, as with all spy stories, to seek to confirm these reports.”

The newspaper stated that the drowning was indeed an accident, but it led to the disclosure of a secret operation carried out by the intelligence services teams.

It noted that even the quick action taken by the intelligence services’ “cleaning agents” to erase all traces from the field, including the rapid flight of all agents from the country and an attempt to erase any trace of their activity, could not now prevent many questions. Moreover, the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Italy has officially started investigating the case.

The newspaper also stated that the disclosure of the names of the two Italian victims and a large number of agents from both countries who witnessed the incident is sufficient to understand and predict that a long and complex operation was underway, which included: “Dynamic surveillance operations that lasted for days until the goal was achieved.”

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The newspaper estimates that the operation may have succeeded in achieving its objectives, but the intention was for it to remain completely unknown. “Everything was fine, except for the final party,” noting that: “The journey on the fateful evening on the boat may have been intended as an excursion to celebrate a successful operation. But now, after the disaster, those who were the targets of the operation know who targeted them.”

In turn, Ronen Bergman, a journalist for Yedioth Ahronoth, confirmed that the Mossad officer killed in the incident belonged to a unit responsible for secret contact with foreign intelligence services. This information was obtained from a former senior security official who preferred to remain anonymous.

The same source confirmed that Mossad and Italian intelligence are cooperating on issues of common interest, such as combating terrorism and gathering information about the Iranian nuclear project.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published excerpts from the testimony of the surviving boat owner, Claudio Carminati. His wife was one of the victims who drowned, along with the Mossad agent and two Italian intelligence agents. According to reports, the others present were also intelligence officers from Israel and Italy.

Israeli media reported that the deceased Israeli officer was 50 years old and that on board the boat were ten other Israeli intelligence officers who survived the sinking and were quickly transferred to a military plane and then to a flight to Israel.

Maariv newspaper quoted Italian media stating that the incident took place during a meeting between Israeli and Italian intelligence officers during which they exchanged confidential information and documents. It reported that the injured Italians were evacuated from hospitals to another secret location. The apartments rented by the Israelis were immediately evacuated to erase any possibility of being tracked.

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