The Mossad and Italian intelligence personnel that were on the boat that capsized earlier this week at Lake Maggiore in northern Italy were working together to prevent Tehran from obtaining advanced weapons, according to a Friday report by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The operation was exposed when the boat sunk, killing four people, including one retired Mossad agent, the report said. Others that drowned include two that worked for Italian intelligence as well as the wife of the ship's captain.
The collaboration of the two espionage organizations reportedly began following Italian media reports which claimed that Russian oligarchs were operating in the area and taking part in transferring Iranian-manufactured UAVs to Moscow.
The sequence of events that led to the operation's exposure
On Sunday morning, 21 secret agents from Italian organizations and the Mossad disguised themselves as tourists and got on a boat in Slovenia which took them to Isole dei Pescatori, the smallest of the Borromean islands in Lake Maggiore. The capsize of the boat was reportedly caused due to the unexpected, and violent stormy weather.
The retired agent that was killed was laid to rest in Ashkelon on Wednesday in a funeral that had many Mossad employees who attended hide their faces behind surgical masks at the cemetery.
Although he retired from the intelligence agency, he continued to serve in the organization's reserves and arrived together with his colleagues in Italy as part of cooperative relations between the Israeli and Italian spy organizations, The New York Times reported citing a former official.
13 of the 21 agents on the boat were from the Mossad. The boat's skipper, Carlo Carminati, is under suspicion of negligent homicide, as the vessel had 23 passengers when it was only allowed to carry 15.