According to the report, the gun, based on an FN MAG machine gun and attached to a robotic apparatus, weighed about 900 kg when fully completed.
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The scientist, considered a founder of Iran’s nuclear program, was assassinated near Tehran on November 27, 2020. While no state or organization officially claimed responsibility for his killing, ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen this summer hinted at Tel Aviv’s involvement.
Iran nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated by a robot machine gun equipped with artificial intelligence and numerous cameras and capable of shooting 600 shots per minute, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the scientist was killed in an ambush by a Mossad sniper operating from an unidentified location at a far distance using satellite technology. The bullets were fired from a machine gun in a camera-laden pickup truck positioned for his automobile to pass close by.
The newly-emerged details on the assassination contradict reports in the media in the days following the deadly incident. Initially, after the killing, news outlets circulated a version claiming that the assassination was carried out by large hit squad, and unidentified ‘witnesses’ to the killing alleged that they had heard a violent firefight in that area.
The NYT, however, claims that a weaponized robot was used to execute Fakrhizadeh, reportedly developed using artificial intelligence. The use of AI served to account for a 1.6-second lag between the kill site and the sniper, as well as movements caused by bullets being fired and the movement of Fakhrizadeh’s automobile. The use of the weaponized technology meant that the operator was able to hit their intended target while leaving Fakhrizadeh’s wife, in the passenger seat next to him, unharmed.
A second, camouflaged surveillance car was stationed earlier along the route, near where Fakhrizadeh’s automobile would perform a U-turn to turn down the road toward his country residence in Absard, east of Tehran.
According to the report, cameras on the weaponized vehicle identified Fakhrizadeh and pinpointed his location within the vehicle, in the driver’s seat beside his wife, and transmitted this data back to the operator. Within one minute of the firing of the first shot, the assassination was complete.
The operator fired 15 shots at the scientist, who died in his wife’s arms, according to reports.
Tel Aviv’s plan to assassinate Fakhrizadeh was in the works for years, with numerous previous plans considered on the unproven Israeli assumption that he was leading a nuclear weapons race in Iran, according to the NYT.
As it became likely that then-US President Donald Trump would not be re-elected, the strategy became more aggressive, as Israeli spy agencies believed US President Joe Biden would return to the Iran Nuclear Deal.
The outlet stated that if Israel wanted to kill a high Iranian official, an action that could start another war, it needed US approval and protection, given that Trump and then Israeli PM Netanyahu publicly shared similar views on Iran.
“That meant acting before Mr. Biden could take office. In Mr. Netanyahu’s best-case scenario, the assassination would derail any chance of resurrecting the nuclear agreement even if Mr. Biden won,” the newspaper stressed.
According to the report, the gun, based on an FN MAG machine gun and attached to a robotic apparatus, weighed about 900 kg when fully completed, and had to be disassembled and transported in pieces before reassembly near the location of the killing and placed on a Zamyad pickup truck.
The vehicle was reportedly packed with cameras for target observation, aiming, and explosives to destroy the evidence.
The go-ahead for the assassination was given to the weapons crew at dawn on the same day.
Fakhrizadeh was allegedly warned by special services about an impending assassination attempt, and was asked not to travel. But the scientist reportedly refused, citing his desire to conduct classes at the University of Tehran the next day.
The outlet claims that the killers infiltrated the scientist’s inner circle, making it possible to predict the route and time of Fakhrizadeh’s travel.
Directly following the assassination, the blue Zamyad pickup reportedly exploded, but not quite as planned, as the weapon was torn from the car, which allowed Tehran to reconstruct the events.
Iran has been rocked by a succession of high-profile attacks in recent months, which, in addition to killing officials and destroying nuclear facilities, has revealed Israel’s extensive network of accomplices within Iran.