Israel announces capture of Iran spy suspect targeting U.S. embassy
Special to WorldTribune.com
JERUSALEM — Israel has announced what officials termed an Iranian plot that included the United States on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu’s talks with President Obama.
The Israel Security Agency has reported the capture of a suspected spy for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. ISA said the alleged agent, a 55-year-old named Ali Mansouri, collected intelligence on the U.S. embassy in Israel, particularly security arrangements, for what could have marked plans for a future attack.
Ali Mansouri, 58, arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on suspicion of espionage, sits in between guards at the Petah Tikva court on the first day of their trial on Sept. 30. /AFP
Ali Mansouri, arrested on suspicion of espionage, sits in between guards at the Petah Tikvah court on Sept. 30. /AFP
“Upon his arrest, many photographs of various sites in Israel which are of interest to the Iranian intelligence elements such as the building of the USA Embassy at HaYarkon Street in Tel Aviv were found in his possession,” ISA said.
The statement on Sept. 29, accompanied by photographs allegedly taken by Mansouri, was released on the eve of an Israeli summit with the United States. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Washington to meet President Barack Obama in what was expected to focus on the U.S. reconciliation with Iran. An official acknowledged that the government sought to announce the arrest of the Iranian before Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama on Sept. 30.
“We received an order to request the lifting of the gag order [on
Mansouri's arrest],” a police representative said in a court hearing in the
Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikvah on Sept. 30.
ISA said Mansouri, a Belgian businessman, was recruited and handled by
IRGC’s Quds Force, assigned for intelligence operations as well as aid to
such insurgency movements as Hamas, Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad. Mansouri
was said to have lived in a hotel across from the U.S. embassy and took
photographs of the block-long complex.
“During questioning, the suspect, Ali Mansouri, described entering
Israel under a Belgian identity using the alias Alex Mans, as well as his
recruitment and activation process by Iranian intelligence elements,” ISA
Mansouri, who did not report an attack plot in Israel, was described as
a major IRGC intelligence agent, assigned to establish a spy network in
Israel. ISA said Mansouri left Iran in 1980, lived in neighboring Turkey for 17 years later. He was then said to have married a Belgian woman, acquired his wife’s nationality in 2006 and changed his name to Alex Mans. Mansouri later divorced the Belgian woman and married an Iranian.
“Mansouri was instructed by his handlers to set up a business
infrastructure in Israel which would conceal the intelligence activity of
Iran in Israel and be used by the Iranian elements for various purposes in
the region,” ISA said. “For this purpose, he was instructed to make a visit
in Israel, establish business ties and sign contracts leading to continued
ISA said Mansouri was assigned to the Quds Force Special Operations
unit, which focuses on Israel and headed by Hamed Abdolahi and Majid Alavi.
The statement said Mansouri was promised $1 million at the end of his
mission. Quds Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, has been
identified as sponsors of attacks on Israeli interests in Georgia, India and
Thailand in 2012.
Mansouri, arrested on Sept. 11 as he waited for a flight to Europe, was
said to have visited Israel three times on his Belgian passport. ISA said
Mansouri, recruited in early 2012, sought to develop business ties with
Israelis in an effort to establish fronts for Quds Force.
“Following his handlers’ instructions, Mansouri used a business cover of
trading in and marketing windows and roofing for stores and restaurants and
tried to establish business relations with business owners in Tel Aviv,” ISA
said. “He always introduced himself as a Belgian businessman and even used
websites and a Facebook profile presenting his alleged business activity.”
ISA said Mansouri, represented by two Israeli attorneys, disclosed the
identities of his handlers. They were said to include Haji Mustafa, a senior
official in the Quds Force, his handler, Haji Hamid Neemati and Mahdi
Hanebabai, who directed Mansour in Israel.
“Mansouri also delivered that he had been instructed by his handlers to
conceal his arrivals in Iran; after his trips to Israel he travelled to Iran
in order to report to his handlers and receive their guidance,” ISA said.
“Mansouri’s Iranian handlers hoped that his Belgian identity would allow him
to bypass the strict Israeli security checks at Ben Gurion Airport.”http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/09/30/israel-announces-capture-of-iran-spy-suspect-targeting-u-s-embassy/
This certainly proves Obama can trust Iran.