The Mossad Stopped an Attack in Cyprus by Kidnapping Its Mastermind in Iran—and the World Shrugs

In cooperation with Cypriot authorities, agents of the fabled Israeli intelligence service recently thwarted a planned attack on Israeli targets on the island nation, arresting several of the would-be perpetrators. After the arrests were made public, the Mossad took the unusual step of explaining how it found them: by abducting, on Iranian soil, the officer of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who directed the terrorist cell in Cyprus, and obtaining the relevant information from him. Yoav Limor notes some lessons that can be learned from this coup, among them:

[T[he Mossad has close collaborative endeavors with other intelligence agencies around the world, especially in the region. This helped in frustrating the terrorist plots in Istanbul and Georgia earlier this year and was helpful in the Cyprus operation as well. Such cooperation is a strategic asset of paramount importance that must be nurtured; it often runs along a parallel track to official ties with Israel.

Iran is hell-bent on killing Israelis. Last year the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence apparatus lost his job after his plot to kill Israelis was thwarted in Istanbul; he was replaced by another one who now saw a similar outcome to his plot. The commanders get replaced but that Iranian motivation remains just the same, in part because Iran has not been forced to pay a price for its attempted murder of Israelis.

The final takeaway is that this intense Iranian effort has failed to cause any outrage around the world. The Mossad exposes plots, shows incriminating evidence and intelligence in practically every language, and shares it with key decision-makers and security chiefs in friendly and not-so-friendly countries, only to get a collective shrug in return.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Cyprus, Iran, Israeli Security, Mossad

The Possible Death of Mohammad Deif, and What It Means

On Saturday, Israeli jets destroyed a building in southern Gaza, killing a Hamas brigade commander named Rafa Salameh. Salameh is one of the most important figures in the Hamas hierarchy, but he was not the primary target. Rather it was Mohammad Deif, who is Yahya Sinwar’s number-two and is thought to be the architect and planner of numerous terrorist attacks, of Hamas’s tunnel network, and of the October 7 invasion itself. Deif has survived at least five Israeli attempts on his life, and the IDF has consequently been especially reluctant to confirm that he had been killed. Yet it seems that it is possible, and perhaps likely, that he was.

Kobi Michael notes that Deif’s demise would have major symbolic value and, moreover, deprive Hamas of important operational know-how. But he also has some words of caution:

The elimination of Deif becomes even more significant given the current reality of severe damage to Hamas’s military wing and its transition to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. However, it is important to remember that organizations such as Hamas and Hizballah are more than the sum of their components or commanders. Israel has previously eliminated the leaders of these organizations and other very senior military figures, and yet the organizations continued to grow, develop, and become more significant security threats to Israel, while establishing their status as political players in the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas.

As for the possibility that Deif’s death will harden Hamas’s position in the hostage negotiations, Tamir Hayman writes:

In my opinion, even if there is a bump in the road now, it is not a strategic one. The reasons that Hamas decided to compromise its demands in the [hostage] deal stem from the operational pressure it is under [and] the fear that the pressure exerted by the IDF will increase.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas