The Iranian revenge: French scientist assassinated in central Tel Aviv
The spy war between Tehran and Tel Aviv escalated after an pro-Iranian group claimed responsibility for the killing of a 70 year old French (maybe Israeli too) Professor who was stabbed to death, and then burnt in his house on one of the city’s most important streets (named after its first mayor, Meir Dizengoff).
The previously unknown group announced that it carried out an assassination of the “Zionist Chemistry Expert” Dr. Eli Laluz who is a French citizen and a graduate of the Weizmann Institute of Science (rehovot), in retaliation to a Mossad assassination of General Hassan Tehrani, the Architect of the Iranian missile program. But it is unclear that Laluz is an Israeli, the Israeli press refer to him as a foreigner, but declined to further report it as the Israeli authorities issued a “gag order” to maintain secrecy. Apparently, Laluz was a friend of Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav.
The group that called itself “the Brigades of the martyr general Hassan Tahrani Mokadem” said that it killed Laluz (spelled it lolaz in the Arabic statement) on last Monday, the 26th of December. “One of our operatives entered the home of a Professor in Dizengoff street in Tel Aviv, and killed him with a knife. then he burnt the house in a complex way. The mujahideen returned to their bases in peace”. The statement also mentioned that “the operation comes as a first response to the assassination of Marty Hassan Tahrani Mokadem, who is an Iranian Brigadier killed in a Mossad bombing in Tehran”. Mokadem was the architect of the Iranian Missile program (photo below).
The Jerusalem Post had reported the following on the incident:
Firefighters responding to a call in Tel Aviv discovered the body of a 70-year-old foreign national in a burned-out apartment on Tuesday. Police investigators arrived at the scene on Dizengoff Street, and suspect the man was murdered. While this was not immediately clear, a pathologist’s report later led to suspicions that he was stabbed. Although the circumstances of the incident are not yet clear, homicide detectives believe the murderer(s) set fire to the home to cover up evidence of the crime. Police are still attempting to ascertain the man’s origins, and have so far been unable to find identifying documents in the home. He may have come from France or Switzerland, they said. (they had a follow up report here)
This assassination comes amid heightened tensions between the CIA and Hezbollah after the exposure of American agents stationed in Lebanon, where they were passing information to the Israelis. (Check the Arab Digest’s No Nonsense Guide to the CIA in Lebanon part I, part II & part III for the full story on the agency’s operations in Beirut).