About a week ago, a tourist boat capsized in Italy, giving the world an unexpected glimpse into the world of international espionage. The victims included Israeli and Italian agents who appeared to be carrying out a secret mission. The Israeli news agency Ynet and the Italian newspaper La Repubblica are hot on the heels of the authorities of the two countries trying to find out what really happened at this “birthday party.”
The case is now known as the “secret agent disaster.”
La Repubblica published on Friday that Italy’s secret service had taken part in an “operation against the proliferation of non-conventional weapons.” According to the report, they carried out actions designed to prevent “enemy elements” from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, biological weapons and advanced technologies.
Officials in Rome told Ynet that the gathering of the 13 Mossad operatives and eight Italian intelligence agents was far from a “birthday party,” and was an operation apparently directed against one target: Iran. “All investigative directions and all incoming reports, even if they cannot be officially confirmed, indicate that Iran was the target of the Mossad operation,” the sources said.
According to La Repubblica, the operation, which ended in a tragic disaster on the lake due to a strong and sudden storm, was intended to prevent Iran from obtaining the above weapons and technologies.
The newspaper stated that the drowning was indeed an unfortunate accident, but it led to the exposure of the intelligence teams’ secret action and the sharing of information. The Italian public prosecutor’s office has officially launched an investigation into this case.
A long and complex operation was underway here, involving “dynamic” surveillance that lasted for days. The Italian newspaper estimates that the operation probably achieved its goal, but should remain completely anonymous. “Everything was perfect except for the closing party,” wrote the newspaper, which reckons the trip on the boat that fateful evening might serve as some sort of marker of a successful operation. But now, after the disaster, those who were the target of the operation know who hit them.
The New York Times quoted a Mossad source as saying that the deceased Mossad man had retired but continued to serve in the organization’s reserve and as part of the cooperative relationship between the Israeli and Italian spy organizations. The same source also explained that Mossad and Italian intelligence are collaborating on issues of mutual interest.
It seems we are dealing with a Mossad operation that went horribly wrong. But only if you accept the official line that the spies died in a storm.
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