The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad was responsible for the assassination of Syrian scientist Dr. Aziz Asbar, a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official told The New York Times.
Dr. Asbar, who was one of the directors of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, was killed when his car exploded in the northern city of Masyaf late Saturday night. The unnamed official told the NYT that Israel was behind the attack, adding that his own intelligence agency had been informed of the operation.
According to the report, the Mossad had been tracking Asbar for a long time. The Syrian scientist reportedly led a top-secret weapons-development unit called Sector 4 and was hard at work building an underground weapons facility and developing precision-guided missiles.
Asbar was considered a close associate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and worked directly under him. He also had close ties with Iranian and North Korean scientists as well as with Hezbollah. “He … had been collaborating with Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, and other Iranians to begin production of precision-guided missiles in Syria by retrofitting heavy Syrian SM600 Tishreen rockets,” the report reads.
The official also alleged that this was the fourth time in the last three years Israel has covertly killed a weapons engineer on foreign soil.