Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday Iran would not go unpunished for instigating attacks through its proxies, speaking a week after the assassination in Tehran of a Revolutionary Guards colonel that has been blamed on Israel.
Bennett’s statement indicates that the shadow war between Iran and Israel is escalating.
Bennett's office, which oversees intelligence agency Mossad, has declined to comment on the assassination.
However, in broadcast remarks to his ministers on Sunday, Bennett accused Iran of repeatedly targeting Israeli interests.
“For decades, the Iranian regime has practiced terrorism against Israel and the region by means of proxies, emissaries, but the head of the octopus, Iran itself, has enjoyed immunity,” Bennett said.
“As we have said before, the era of the Iranian regime's immunity is over. Those who finance terrorists, those who arm terrorists and those who send terrorists will pay the full price," he added.
Hassan Sayad Khudaei, accused by Israel of plotting attacks against its citizens worldwide, was shot dead at the wheel of his car by two people on a motorcycle. The tactic echoed previous killings in Iran that focused on nuclear scientists and were widely pinned on Mossad.
Immediately after the assassination in Tehran, the government-affiliated media outlet ISNA said that the Revolutionary Guards had discovered and arrested members of an Israeli intelligence network.
On Wednesday, an explosion at Iran’s Parchin military complex killed an engineer. The New York Times reported Friday that the attack was carried out by quadcopter suicide drones, in an attack that fits a pattern of previous strikes that have been attributed to Israel.
The alleged drone strike came after gunmen on May 22 killed Khudaei in the middle of Tehran.
According to the Times report, Israeli officials claimed Khudaei was deputy head of the so-called Unit 840, a shadowy division within the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force that carries out kidnappings and assassinations of figures outside of Iran, including against Israelis.
His killing was meant to warn Iran that the group should stop its activities, the intelligence official quoted by the Times said.