The New York Times sources have claimed that Israel assassinated top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27th, 2020 using a remotely-controlled, AI-assisted machine gun. Israel reportedly mounted the gun on a pickup truck by the side of the road and, when Fakhrizadeh’s car approached had a distant operator fire the gun using a satellite link.
The attack spared Fakhrizadeh’s wife, but may not have used facial recognition to assist with aiming as unnamed Iranian officials said. While Israel purportedly used the AI to compensate for the satellite system’s lag and gun recoil, operatives identified Fakhrizadeh by staging a decoy car with a camera to force a U-turn and get a clear image.
Neither government has publicly confirmed the use of a robotic gun, although The Times’ story is based in part on the Fakhrizadeh family’s statements to the media. Iranian investigators only determined the nature of the attack by chance, according to the sources. The Israeli operatives exploded the truck in a bid to destroy the evidence, but the equipment remained intact (if inoperable).
The report hinted that this could be the future of espionage. Assassins can now use robotics to take out targets with little risk to themselves, little warning to enemies and a greater chance of deniability.