Israel's Mossad tipped off MI5 about Iran terror threats - report

The leaked taking of credit for thwarting terror incidents aimed at allies is part of an increasing trend in recent years in which Israel and the Mossad have gotten more public about their assistance

 People demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest against the Islamic regime of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, in central London, Britain, October 8, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)
People demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest against the Islamic regime of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, in central London, Britain, October 8, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)

The Mossad tipped off England’s MI5 homeland security agency about terrorist threats to British citizens, especially journalists, in recent weeks, Channel 11 reported Monday night.

Last week, MI5 Director General Ken McCallum said Iran had tried to kidnap or kill at least 10 UK-based individuals since January.

The leaked taking of credit for thwarting terrorism aimed at allies is part of an increasing trend in recent years in which Israel and the Mossad have gotten more public about their assistance to close allies, such as England and Australia, and countries it has complex relations with, such as Turkey.

Part of a more coordinated Israeli effort against Iran

It appeared that the leak might have been part of a more coordinated effort. OC Intelligence Corps Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva mentioned Iran’s terrorist threats against London in an appearance earlier Monday at the INSS conference on Iran.

Many observers expected Mossad Director David Barnea to have his agency fade into its traditional shadows after an unusually public period under his predecessor, Yossi Cohen. But Barnea has made it clear that he thinks certain public-relations moves can aid Israel’s interests.

 MI5 Director General Ken McCallum is photographed in London, Britain October 14, 2020 (credit: UK Government/Handout via REUTERS) MI5 Director General Ken McCallum is photographed in London, Britain October 14, 2020 (credit: UK Government/Handout via REUTERS)

For example, as Israel tries to convince England, the US and others to toe the line against Iran in the nuclear standoff, mentioning its helpful role to London could play to Jerusalem’s advantage in the court of public opinion.

In terms of the details of the threat, McCallum’s annual threat update included this statement: “Iran projects threats to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime. We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January alone.

"Iran projects threats to the UK directly, through its aggressive intelligence services. At its sharpest, this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime. We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January alone."

Ken McCallum

“We work at pace with domestic and international partners to disrupt this completely unacceptable activity. The Foreign Secretary made clear to the Iranian regime just last week that the UK will not tolerate intimidation or threats to life towards journalists, or any individual, living in the UK.”

It is now clear that the reference to international partners was the Mossad in this case.

The ongoing protests sweeping Iran could signal “profound change,” McCallum said, adding that the trajectory was still “uncertain.”

“For now, we see the regime resorting to violence to silence critics – an Iran that, with its proxies, remains a profoundly destabilizing actor in its region and beyond; an Iran providing support to Russia, including by supplying the drones inflicting misery in Ukraine,” he said.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.