REPORT: Israeli Intelligence Assassinates Syrian Rocket Scientist

(REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)

The Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, assassinated a top Syrian rocket scientist on Saturday using a car bomb, the New York Times first reported Tuesday.

The scientist, Aziz Asbar, led a confidential unit known as “Sector 4” at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center developing cutting edge missile technology designed to further Syria’s efforts to initiate the long range bombing of Israeli cities.

Asbar was killed along with his driver near the research center, which lies in the town of Masyaf and has long been believed to host chemical weapons development. The center has twice been the target of Israeli air attacks in the last year and Asbar himself had previously avoided two Israeli assassination attempts.

The prominent rocket scientist, who reportedly had his own security detail, regularly met with senior Syrian and Iranian government and military officials, including major general Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds force who has led Tehran’s efforts to prop up Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s brutally repressive government.

Israeli officials have refused to comment on the assassination, as is their policy. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, spokesmen for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied Israeli involvement when confronted by reporters Monday.

“Every day in the Middle East there are hundreds of explosions and settling of scores,” he told Israel’s Channel 2 News. “Every time, they try to place the blame on us. So we won’t take this too seriously.”

Hezbollah and Hamas, however, were quick to blame Israel for the aggression.

“Yet again the Israeli enemy has assassinated one of the greatest Syrian minds,” major Syrian daily newspaper al-Watan said in a commentary on Tuesday.

Mossad has a storied history of assassinating foreign weapons scientists. In the last eleven years alone, its agents have successfully assassinated six Iranians involved in the country’s chemical and nuclear weapons programs. The group also killed a number of Hamas and Hezbollah scientists in recent years.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Demagoguery Is Not Leadership

The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand has, with the support of the opposition, decided to enact fundamental changes in the nation’s firearms laws less than a week after the massacre at two Christchurch mosques. This is the opposite of leadership. It is also an example of why ... Read More
White House

The Media’s Disgrace

There will soon enough be an effort to memory-hole it, but the media coverage of the Russia investigation was abysmal and self-discrediting — obsessive and hysterical, often suggesting that the smoking gun was right around the corner, sometimes supporting its hoped-for result with erroneous, too-good-to-check ... Read More

Political Theatrics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including all you whippersnappers under the age of 50), I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic. At least I hope that’s ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Was Trump So Annoyed About?

One of the stranger arguments that I heard throughout the Mueller saga -- and am hearing today, now that it's turned out to be a dud -- is that Donald Trump's irritation with the process was unreasonable and counterproductive. This tweet, from CNN's Chris Cilizza, is a nice illustration of the genre: Donald ... Read More