Israel’s unusual official announcement on May 30 of its heightened air defense alert was triggered by intelligence affirming Iran’s determination to make good this time on a vow of revenge for the shooting of Col. Hassan Kodaei on May 23. It was reinforced on Monday afternoon, when Iranian media named five Israel intelligence and tech experts who with their families and colleagues are now in Iran’s sights:
- Maj. Gen. (Res) Amos Malka, Military Intelligence (AMAN) Chief from 1998 to 2001 is accused of business deals in the last 20 years involving security high-tech firms.
- Amir Levinthal, founder and CEO of the Cylus cyber company that secures rail systems. According to the Fars news agency, Levinthal is a former member of AMAN.
- Gal Ganot, graduate of the IDF’s high tech 8200 Unit and director of a company that does work for the Mossad.
- Inbar Arieli, founder of that Synthesis high-tech company. She is rated one of the 100 most influential members of the “Zionist Entity’s new tech elite.” She too served in the 8200 Unit.
- Amit Meltzer, described as an expert in cyber defense who is the architect of those systems in the use of Israel, the US and Singapore
The Kodeai hit was cited on Monday by Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami when he pledged to avenge his death during a visit to the victim’s parents. However, a subsequent attack two days later – this one on the Parchin military complex, that was attributed by American sources to Israel – was the tipping point for Tehran. Helicopters packed with explosives struck a plant producing UAVs. Most galling of all for the Islamic Republic was that both attacks were inside jobs carried out from within its borders.
Col. Kodaei was head of the IRGC’s clandestine Qods Force’s Unit 840, which is charged with acts of terror against Israeli targets. He was not the first high-profile Iranian whose assassination was attributed to Israel. But in previous cases, including the mastermind of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Farizadeh, in November 2020, Israel maintained silence on its security preparations.
This time is different in that Iran’s threats – including and a real threat to Israelis visiting Turkey – are being taken with extreme seriousness on three scores:
- On Saturday, Iran opened up a secret underground depot housing some 100 advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (see photo) to demonstrate its capacity to settle accounts with Israel on a large scale. It will be hard to back down on vows of revenge after this display.
- This and other intelligence strongly indicate that Iran will not be content with a small operation but is rather bent on inflicting heavy damage.
- Security sources infer this additionally from the restraint displayed by the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the face of Israel’s Flag Parade on Jerusalem Day despite threats of rocket fire and other payback. Both were apparently directed from Tehran to hold their fire and wait to join the multi-front assault coming to Israel.