Israel reportedly used a remote-controlled gun to assassinate an Iranian scientist
Countries have murdered people using drones, but these attacks now appear to involve robotic weapons on the ground. The New York Times sources claim that Israel had Iran's leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on the 27th. Israel reportedly mounted the gun on a pickup truck on the side of the road and, as Fakhrizadeh's car approached, a distant operator fired the gun over a satellite link.
The attack was precise and spared Fakhrizadeh's wife, but may not have used facial recognition to help aim, unnamed Iranian officials said. While Israel allegedly used AI to offset the satellite system's lag and recoil, agents identified Fakhrizadeh by staging a decoy car with a camera to force a U-turn and get a clear picture.
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Neither government has publicly endorsed the use of a robotic gun, although the Times story is based in part on what the Fakhrizadeh family told the media. According to the sources, Iranian investigators only determined the nature of the attack by chance. Israeli agents detonated the truck to destroy the evidence, but the equipment remained intact (when inoperative).
The use of this technology is not surprising. While the remote pistol was reportedly difficult to set up (Israel smuggled parts very gradually), it kept agents out of the way and avoided alarming like a drone. Had the weapon been destroyed as planned, Iran may not have been able to determine the murder method.
If applicable, the report could point to the future of espionage. Assassins can now use robots to take down targets with low risk to themselves, little warning to enemies, and a greater chance of denial. As a result, you won't necessarily see a spate of assassinations (Fakhrizadeh ignored several safety recommendations), but there is a real chance this won't be the last murder of its kind.
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