Turkish media published on Sunday new images of one of the Iranian death squads that tried to assassinate Israeli tourists in Istanbul last month before being stopped by intelligence services.
According to the reports, a group of Israelis that arrived at the hotel where the Iranian assassins stayed checked in under the alias “the Chinese group” when they noticed the Iranians in the hotel lobby.
A member of the group, identified as Ofek, broke down crying and said that he had received a phone call informing him that the Iranians were planning to assassinate him.
Hotel staff reportedly calmed him and his friends down. Later, several individuals who arrived at the hotel in a Mercedes minivan also spoke to the group and sent them to rest in their room.
According to reports in Turkey, the assassins’ main target was former Israeli consul-general in Istanbul Yossi Levi Sfari, while aiming to kill other Israeli tourists as well.
Reports noted that the accommodation of Israeli tourists at the hotel in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district was changed without the Iranians noticing.
Ultimately, the Iranian squad was arrested by Turkish intelligence on June 16. Turkish officials seized three pistols, three firearm suppressors (“silencers”), and two laser sights.
The investigation by Turkish authorities revealed that one of the Iranian suspects had purchased a motorcycle from a local in Istanbul.
The investigation of some of the suspects is still ongoing, and some are also suspected of espionage.
According to some reports, some of the suspects were captured on different dates.
Over the weekend, Turkish media reported that one of the Iranian squads sought to assassinate three Israeli women who were on a vacation in the country. Iranian intelligence reportedly used what was described as an “Iranian mafia” as a conduit to convey messages to the squad.
The Turkish investigation found that one member of the squad traveled to Iran four times over the span of two months and met with the mafia’s “kingpin” on his last trip to the Islamic Republic, just four days before his arrest.
In the last phone call of the two, the squad member — who was supposed to carry out the assassination — is heard asking whether “firing inside a hotel generate loud noise” and whether the gun was “good enough to get the job done.”
The kingpin replies that firing the gun would be about “as loud as a balloon popping” if not quieter.
Turkish media noted that the Iranian squad was under surveillance by Turkish intelligence agency MIT since it entered the country, and were eventually caught “red-handed and at the wire” with firearms on their person.
Source » ynetnews