An Iranian agent was arrested while trying to leave Israel on September 11,
security sources announced on Sunday.
The man had been sent to Israel to
set up a base for Iranian intelligence and terrorism networks, the sources
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said the 55-year-old suspect
had been recruited by Iran’s Quds Force, the extraterritorial unit responsible
for special operations, terrorism and subversion run by the Revolutionary Guards
The suspect was found with photographs of the US Embassy and
“During questioning, the suspect, Ali Mansouri,
described entering Israel under a Belgian identity using the alias Alex Mans, as
well as his recruitment and activation process by Iranian intelligence
elements,” the Shin Bet said.
Mansouri is a Belgian citizen and a
businessman of Iranian origin, who was instructed to arrive in Israel and set up
a business network that would serve as a covert base of operations for the
Iranian regime to act against Israeli and Western interests, the investigation
Iran offered him $1 million in exchange for his
Mansouri answered directly to the Quds Force, which is led by
Khamed Abdallahi and Majid Alawi, both of whom are subordinate to the unit’s
notorious commander, Qassem Suleimani, the Shin Bet added.
operations unit is tasked with, among other things, carrying out terror attacks
against Israel – both abroad and in Israel – and against other targets that Iran
works against in the West and Middle East,” it said.
He visited Israel on
three occasions, and tried to forge links with business owners in Tel Aviv.
Officers from the Shin Bet and the Israel Police’s Serious and International
Crime Unit arrested Mansouri at Ben- Gurion Airport as he tried to board a
flight to Europe on the evening of September 11.
The Shin Bet suspects
that Mansouri was building a business network as a front for an extensive
Iranian intelligence and terrorism network in Israel.
It provided a
detailed biography of the suspect’s life. Born in Iran in 1958, Mansouri lived
there until 1980, before moving to Turkey, where he stayed until 1997. It was
then that he entered the world of business, and received a visa that allowed him
to reside in Belgium, where he worked and married.
In 2006, Mansouri, now
divorced, received Belgian citizenship, and changed his name to Alex Mans to
cover up his Iranian identity, the investigation revealed. In 2007, he returned
to Iran, from where he tried to broaden his business activities in the three
countries he knew best: Iran, Belgium and Turkey.
He continued to travel
between the three states, married an Iranian woman, and allegedly drew the
attention of Iranian intelligence recruiters, due to his international business
Mansouri specialized in selling windows and roofing solutions
to stores and restaurants, and tried to sign supply contracts with potential
customers in Tel Aviv. He presented himself as a Belgian businessman, and would
refer them to websites and Facebook accounts that documented his business
In 2012, the Quds Force asked him to work on it behalf in
Israel, the Shin Bet said.
He visited Israel in July 2012, January 2013
and, most recently, came on September 6, for a visit that ended in his
Security services found in his possession many photographs of
sites in Israel, some of which are of interest to Iranian intelligence agencies,
such as the US Embassy building in Tel Aviv.
During questioning, Mansouri
divulged information about his handlers, including details about Haji Mustafa, a
senior Quds Force headquarters operative, who met with Mansouri and received
updates about his missions in Israel; Hajai Hamid Na’amti, a Quds Force liaison;
and Mahdi Hanababai, Mansouri’s guide during his time in Israel.
described how his handlers ordered him to cover up his flights to Iran, which he
would take after his visits to Israel for debriefings and
Public defense lawyers representing Mansouri said that
their client is a Belgian businessman who is not motivated by any pro-Iranian
The attorneys, Michael Orkavi and Anat Ya’ari, said their client
had been denied access to a lawyer for nine days. They added that a more complex
picture existed than the one security services were presenting, and that the
full details would emerge in court after Mansouri was charged.
views the Quds Force as being responsible for the terrorist attack that
seriously wounded the wife of an Israeli diplomat in Delhi, India, in February
During the same month, there were additional botched attacks
attributed to the Quds Force on Israeli targets in Thailand and
The Quds Force was also behind attacks on Israeli targets in
Azerbaijan, Kenya and Nigeria that were foiled in recent years, security
An official traveling with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu as he is set to meet with President Barack Obama in the US said that
the affair was further proof that Iran’s word could not be
“While the Iranian president sweet-talks the West, the
ayatollah’s Revolutionary Guards continue in their attempts to hurt Western
interests in the Middle East, as is evidenced by the fact that the Iranian spy
that was caught gathered intelligence on the US Embassy in Israel,” the official
said.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this story.