Signs point to Mossad in death of top Syrian rocket scientist

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Syria on Tuesday accused Israel of assassinating a top Syrian rocket scientist over the weekend, heightening the growing tensions between the two countries as Syrian government troops restore control over areas bordering Israel. Israeli officials refused to comment about the charges.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said his agency had been informed about the operation, and that Mossad had been tracking Asbar for a long time.

A senior scientist for the Syrian regime involved in the country's development of weapons was killed along with his driver in a vehicle explosion in central Syria, activists reported Sunday.

It's believed that the deceased had close ties with Al-Assad as well as the Iranian regime and, according to British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the unit being used for chemical weapons development.

The head of a Syrian research facility that Western countries say was part of a chemical weapons program was killed when his vehicle was blown up, the pro-Syrian government newspaper al-Watan said on Sunday. The center has been targeted in two air attacks that have been attributed to Israel, including one in April that killed several Iranians. He was also collaborating with Iranian Maj.

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NYT report further said that Ibser was one of Syria's most important rocket scientists, bent on amassing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles that could be launched with pinpoint accuracy against Israeli cities hundreds of miles away.

Asbar headed the Maysaf research center in Hama, which was hit by Israeli air strikes last month and in September a year ago, the Observatory said. He said it was the fourth time in three years the Mossad has assassinated an enemy weapons engineer in a foreign country.

Al -Watan's owner is Syrian President Bashar Assad's cousin, Rami Makhlouf.

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.