Israel has stepped up its covert campaign on Iranian soil, officials say

Israel has stepped up a program of offensive covert action against Iranian targets over the past year, officials familiar with the matter confirmed to the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in May announced a change in anti-Iran policy, dubbed the Octopus Doctrine, emphasizing operations that penetrate Iranian soil instead of targeting Iran’s operatives 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 admin issues new sanctions on Iran as nuclear deal prospects crumble)

“The gloves are off,” a person familiar with the matter told the WSJ. “It is recognized that while Iran has mastered the fuel cycle, it has not mastered warhead development.”

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

“We are no longer playing with the tentacles, with the proxies of Iran: we have created a new equation by aiming for the head,” Bennett said during a briefing before a parliamentary committee in June, according to the WSJ. “Last year, the State of Israel took action against the head of the terrorist octopus and not just against weapons as has been done in previous decades.”

Iranian officials have promised to mount a counterattack. “When the Zionist regime carries out an operation, it is aware that it would get answers repeatedly,” former Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari told the official Tasnim news agency.

Israel claims that an Iranian terrorist network is trying to kidnap Israeli citizens in Turkey. A national security body raised 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, Israel’s intelligence agency, on Tuesday, Tasnim News reported. State-sponsored hacking groups have also targeted former high-level Israeli officials to gain access to their inboxes for unknown purposes.

Analysts question whether Israel’s strategy can achieve its alleged goal, 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 is falling below that considered ideal for producing a viable atomic weapon.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, Mossad and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. The Ministry of Defense directed the DCNF to the Prime Minister.

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