Iranian state television reported that the scientist who, as alleged by Israel, led a military nuclear programme in the early 2000s has been ‘assassinated’.
Photo released by Fars News Agency shows the scene where Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in Absard, a small city just east of Tehran, Iran [Fars News Agency via AP]
High-ranking Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who, Israel alleged, led the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear programme until its disbanding in the early 2000s has been “assassinated” in an ambush near Tehran.
Fakhrizadeh was shot and injured “by terrorists” in his vehicle in Absard, a suburb in eastern Tehran, and later succumbed to his injuries in what amounted to a “martyr’s death,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
Local authorities had confirmed Fakhrizadeh’s death several hours earlier and also said that several attackers were killed.
Fakhrizadeh served as head of the Research and Innovation Organisation of the defence ministry at the time of his death.
Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Fakhrizadeh, whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: “Remember that name.”
Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly 10 years ago.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist that Israel alleged led the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program until its disbanding in the early 2000s was ‘assassinated’ Friday, state television said [Fars News Agency via AP]
Photos and video shared online showed a Nissan sedan with bullet holes through windshield and blood pooled on the road.
The semiofficial Fars news agency said witnesses heard the sound of an explosion and then machine gun fire. The attack targeted a car that Fakhrizadeh was in, the agency said.
Those wounded, including Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards, were later taken to a local hospital, the agency said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Al Jazeera’s Assed Baig reporting from Tehran said that according to Fars news agency, Fakhrizadeh “came under attack by 3 – 4 unknown assailants”.
“They also say 3 – 4 people were killed in that incident,” Baig said.
“We have had the head of the Revolutionary Guard say that assassinating nuclear scientists is an attempt by hegemonic powers to stop Iran from gaining new sciences”.
A handout photo made available by Iran state TV (IRIB) shows the damages after an attack targeted the car of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near the capital Tehran [IRIB News agency/AFP]
‘Serious indications’ of Israeli role