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Cyprus assassination attempt paints picture of emboldened Iran

Israel suspects that a plot to kill Israeli businesspeople in Cyrus reflects an alarming change in Iranian strategy.
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images
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There were two developments in Israel’s shadow war with Iran at the start of this week. On Sunday, Oct. 3, reports emerged that an armed Azeri hit man had been sent to assassinate Israeli business people in Cyprus. Israeli politicians pointed the finger at Iran. The next day, addressing the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett revealed that the Mossad had recently carried out a wide-ranging, daring operation in a bid to obtain information on the whereabouts of Israeli aviator Ron Arad, whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in October 1986 and is believed to have been handed over to Iran. Despite the passage of time and the unlikely prospects that Arad is still alive, Israel continues its efforts to find out what happened to him.

The link between these two events is clear: The game Israel and Iran have been playing since the 1979 Islamic Revolution is one of the strangest and most complex in the history of great Middle Eastern rivalries. What was previously indirect and clandestine is gradually emerging into the open, becoming daring and provocative.

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