Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia iStock

The Prime Minister's Office has revealed more details about the attempted assassination of an Israeli businessman in the Republic Georgia by an Iranian-backed terrorist cell which was revealed Tuesday.

Recently, Georgian security forces uncovered and thwarted an attempt by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, in cooperation with officials from the Quds Force, to carry out a terrorist attack in Tbilisi against an Israeli citizen living in Georgia, Itsik Moshe, who serves as chairman of the Israeli House organization, Vice President of the European Alliance for Israel, and chairman of the Israel Georgia Chamber of Business.

A team of Pakistani assassins affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, who arrived in the capital of Tbilisi, gathered extensive intelligence on the target for assassination and reached a high level of readiness for the execution of their mission.

One of the assassins was arrested last week by the Georgian security forces after he was seen acting suspiciously. A military weapon and other incriminating items were found in his possession and seized. He arrived in Georgia with a mission given to him by his Iranian superiors to assassinate an Israeli citizen.

In addition, a squad of two operatives with dual Georgian-Iranian citizenship were discovered whose job it was to transfer the weapons to the squad which was to carry out the assassination. This was with the help of drug smugglers who operated between Turkey and Georgia. The squad received payment for carrying out the transfer. The two were also arrested by Georgian security forces, and another weapon intended for use in the attack was found in their possession.

The cell has been in operation since 2011 under the direction of Mohammad Reza Ebadi Arablu, a veteran of the Quds Force who previously operated inside Georgia. At the time of the attempted assassination, the cell was operated by Ali Feyzipour a Quds Force operative who promotes terrorist activity in many areas around the world.

All the teams were recruited, trained and financed by Iran - with the aim of carrying out a terrorist attack.

An Israeli security official said that this is not the first time an attempt to carry out a terrorist attack on Georgian soil with Iranian direction was exposed, as it is known that official and unofficial Iranian operatives were used to promote several attempted terrorist attack throughout 2021 and 2022. Among them was an attempt to promote a terrorist attack in Georgia at the direction of Shahram Poursafi, an Iranian citizen who works for the Iranian Quds Force., who has also been charged in a plot to assassinate former US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

This is also not the first time that Iran has attempted to attack Itsik Moshe. Iran was also behind an attempt to target Israeli tourists in Istanbul in the summer of 2022 and an attempt to target Israeli businessmen in Cyprus in October 2021.

The official noted that this incident further demonstrates the close connection between the Iranian government and al-Qaeda.

"The connection between Iran and al-Qaeda is nothing new. This attempted attack once again illustrates the close and long-standing relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda, and in particular Tehran's use of the terrorist organization - whose leaders are even hosted on its soil - to promote harm to innocent citizens while hiding its responsibility and direct involvement."

Israel's National Security Council announced that there would be no travel warning for Israelis flying to Georgia as such warnings are not issued for singular events targeting specific individuals but for more general threats to Israeli citizens.