Israel Ramped Up Covert Campaign On Iranian Soil, Officials Say

Israel has intensified an offensive covert action program against Iranian targets in the last year, officials familiar with the matter confirmed to The Wall Street Journal Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in May announced a shift in counter-Iran policy, titled the Octopus Doctrine, emphasizing operations that penetrate Iranian soil instead of targeting Iran’s agents in third countries, according to the WSJ. The clandestine initiative aims to prevent Iran from developing a viable nuclear weapon, officials told the WSJ. (RELATED: Biden Administration Issues New Sanctions On Iran As Nuclear Deal Prospects Plummet)

“The gloves are off,” an individual familiar with the matter told the WSJ. “There is a recognition that, while Iran may have mastered the fuel cycle, they haven’t mastered warhead development.”

In keeping with the new strategy, Israel has mounted drone strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities and targeted an Iranian drone base, the officials told the WSJ. Iran also in May accused Israel of assassinating a top commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who oversaw kidnappings and killings of Israeli targets worldwide, the WSJ reported.

“We no longer play with the tentacles, with Iran’s proxies: we’ve created a new equation by going for the head,” Bennett said at a briefing before a parliamentary committee in June, according to the WSJ. “In the past year, the State of Israel has taken action against the head of the terrorist octopus and not just against the arms as was done in previous decades.”

Iranian officials promised to mount a counterattack. “When the Zionist regime conducts one operation, it is mindful that it would get responses for it several times,” former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari told the state-run Tasnim News Agency.

Israel claims an Iranian terror network is attempting to kidnap Israeli citizens in Turkey. A national security body upgraded the risk advisory for Israelis traveling to Turkey to its highest level on June 13 amid an immediate warning of active kidnapping operations, according to The Times of Israel.

Iran claimed to have captured three operatives working with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, on Tuesday, Iranian state-run Tasnim News reported. State-sponsored hacking groups have also targeted former high-level Israeli officials to access their inboxes for unknown purposes.

Analysts question whether Israel’s strategy can achieve its alleged objective, according to the WSJ. Iran now has enough enriched uranium to create a nuclear explosive according to a May 30 UN report, but the level of enrichment falls below that considered ideal for producing a viable atomic weapon.

The Israeli prime minister’s office, the Mossad and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment. The Ministry of Defense directed TheDCNF to the prime minister’s office.

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