The New York Times revealed, on Saturday, that Israel’s assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, late last year, was carried out using a “killer robot.”
This came in a report published by the newspaper, Saturday, based on interviews with American, Israeli, and Iranian officials, including two intelligence officials familiar with the details of the planning and implementation of the operation, without revealing the identity of any of them due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The report in New York Times indicated that “the assassination took place without the presence of any agents on the ground, by a killer robot capable of firing 600 rounds per minute (…), a new high-tech weapon equipped with artificial intelligence and multiple cameras operating via satellite.”
An intelligence official familiar with the plan explained that “Israel chose an advanced model of the Belgian-made FN MAG submachine gun, linked to an advanced intelligent robot.”
“The system was no different from its Sentinel 20 counterpart, which is manufactured by the Spanish company Escribano,” he added.
The weight of the machine gun with the robot and the rest of the accessories combined was about a ton, so the equipment was dismantled into small pieces, and then smuggled to Iran in different ways and times, and then secretly assembled there, according to the same source.
The report stated that “the robot was built to fit the size of the basin of a Zamyad pickup truck, commonly used in Iran, and cameras were installed in multiple directions on the truck to give the wheelhouse a complete picture not only of the target and its security details, but of the surrounding environment.”
Finally, the truck was booby-trapped so that it could be remotely detonated and shredded after the killing was over, in order to destroy all evidence, according to the New York Times.
For the purpose of determining the target accurately, a car was placed on the side of the road used by Fakhrizadeh, and pretended to be disabled, while it was equipped with a satellite camera that sends images directly to the headquarters of the operation.
The report confirmed that “the whole process took less than a minute, during which only 15 bullets were fired. Iranian investigators indicated that the bullets did not hit Fakhrizadeh’s wife, who was sitting a few centimeters away.”
Regarding the details of the operation, the semi-official Fars News Agency revealed, at the time, that “it lasted only about 3 minutes, and there was no human factor at the place of the assassination, and the shooting was only carried out with automatic remote-controlled weapons.”
She explained that on the day of the accident, Fakhri Zadeh and his wife were traveling in a bulletproof car, escorted by 3 guard cars, on their way to the Damavand area near Tehran.
She added that one of the guard cars separated from the convoy, kilometers from the accident site, with the aim of verifying and monitoring any suspicious movement.
Meanwhile, the sound of a few bullets targeting the car drew Fakhri Zadeh’s attention and stopped the car.
She added that “Fakhri Zada” got out of the car, believing that the sound was caused by a collision with an external obstacle or a problem with the car’s engine.
After getting out of the car, a remote-controlled automatic machine gun mounted on a pickup truck parked 150 meters away fired a hail of bullets at him, hitting him with 3 bullets, one of which cut his spinal cord.
Moments later, the parked truck was detonated.
On November 27, 2020, Iran announced the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, 63-year-old “godfather of the nuclear deal”, after targeting a car he was traveling in near the capital, Tehran.
Following the incident, former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of orchestrating the assassination of the world. Tehran has vowed to respond.