Iran’s intelligence ministry has announced the arrest of a network of agents linked to Israel’s Mossad who entered Iran to carry out attacks against “sensitive” sites, state media reported.
The suspects entered Iran from northern Iraq, but were arrested before they were able to carry out sabotage and “terrorist operations”, IRNA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the ministry.
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The announcement by Iran’s intelligence ministry came amid heightening tensions with regional rival Israel over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
“This network’s members were in contact with [Israel’s] Mossad spy agency through a neighbouring country and entered Iran from [Iraq’s] Kurdistan region with advanced equipment and strong explosives,” IRNA cited the ministry as saying.
The statement did not say how many suspects were arrested or give their nationalities, nor did it identify the targets of the purported plots.
“The members of the network … intended on carrying unprecedented terrorist activities in some sensitive locations and pre-determined targets,” it said.
The Israeli prime minister’s office, which oversees Mossad, declined to comment.
Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, with the Iran accusing its rival of carrying out sabotage attacks against its nuclear sites and assassinations of key figures, including scientists.
But tensions have ratcheted up following a string of high-profile incidents that Tehran has blamed on Israel.
Iran has blamed Israel for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Colonel Sayyad Khodaei at his Tehran home on May 22.
Two other senior Revolutionary Guard members have also died – one in a reported accident and the other in a shooting – earlier this year.
In April, Iran said it arrested three people linked to Mossad and a month earlier claimed it had foiled an attack on a nuclear plant also planned by suspects linked to Israel.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge to deny Iran nuclear arms. Tehran has said its nuclear programme is peaceful and has denied seeking nuclear weapons.