Everybody knew it had to be the Mossad, and now the NY Times confirmed it: Aziz Asbar, Syria's top rocket scientists who was leading a top-secret weapons-development unit called Sector 4, to construct precision-guided missiles to hit Israeli cities hundreds of miles away, was killed by a vehicle bomb on Saturday, "apparently" planted by eliminated by Israel's much feared clandestine agency (A Top Syrian Rocket Scientist Is Blown Up, and Fingers Point at Mossad).
The Times reports that Israel believes "that Mr. Asbar led the secret unit known as Sector 4 at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center".
According to The New York Times, an unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence official said Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, was responsible for the bombing.
Asbar headed the Maysaf research centre in Hama, which was hit by Israeli air strikes last month and in September previous year, the Observatory said.
His center was the target of Israeli air attacks last month and in September, the Observatory added. He was also collaborating with Iranian Maj.
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The rockets were said to be accurate enough to hit Israeli cities from Lebanon or Syria. An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment. "Every day in the Middle East there are hundreds of explosions and settling of scores", Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel's Channel 2 News. He said it was the fourth time in three years the Mossad has assassinated an enemy weapons engineer in a foreign country.
Last September, Israel nearly entirely destroyed a weapons factory in Masyaf, where Asbar was a senior manager.
"Several strikes on Masyaf have been attributed to Israel in recent years, the last of which was on July 22".
Israel has carried out numerous strikes inside Syria since 2017, according to the Observatory, targeting government forces and their allies from Iran and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah. The two countries have been in a state of war since 1967, when Israel occupied the Golan Heights, and although no shots have been fired since the 1974 cease-fire, Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to press for the return of the territory.
A succession of victories since then over both the Islamic State group and various rebel factions has extended government control to almost two-thirds of the country.