World Cup could be targeted by Iran: reports

Iran may launch an attack on the World Cup but may hesitate amid uncertainty over the response from the hosts, Qatar, a senior Israeli military intelligence official said on Monday.

Major General Aharon Haliva, head of IDF intelligence, attended a meeting of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv on Monday and spoke about the protests occupying the country and how they will affect the biggest international soccer event, the World Cup.

Enner Valencia of Ecuador scores his team's first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qatar Group A match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, November 20, 2022.

Enner Valencia of Ecuador scores his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Qatar Group A match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, November 20, 2022.
(Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

“Iran is considering disrupting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” Khaliwa said. “However, the only thing stopping them is – what is Qatar’s response?”

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Protests in Iran have continued since the September death of a woman named Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality police in Tehran, in what has been described as the biggest challenge to Iran’s civilian leadership since the 1979 revolution.

Amini’s death not only sparked outrage in Tehran, but protests spread across the country.

The country’s leaders have deployed troops to a Kurdish city to regain control of the town, which has been taken over by protesters.

Protesters in Dag Hammarskjöld Square outside the United Nations building demonstrate against Iranian regime President Ibrahim Raisy for his direct involvement in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Lacey will address the United Nations General Assembly today (September 21, 2022).

Protesters in Dag Hammarskjöld Square outside the United Nations building demonstrate against Iranian regime President Ibrahim Raisy for his direct involvement in the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. Lacey will address the United Nations General Assembly today (September 21, 2022).
(John Mantel for Fox Digital News)

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Social media videos showed military vehicles filling the streets of Mahabad, and in one incident, Iranian troops opened fire on crowds gathered to listen to the governor’s speech.

Iranian regime targets Kurdish cities to crack down on protests

Hariwa said the current protests were unusual for their duration and intensity, adding how the demonstrations were changing the course of civil unrest.

This is troubling for the Iranian regime, especially because of mounting international pressure and dire economic conditions, the general said.

“As the pressure on Iran has increased, Iran has responded more aggressively to various events,” he said. “We should expect more aggressive action from Iran in the region and the world.”

As Iran decides its next move, Khaliwa insists the World Cup is under threat.

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“Let me tell you, the Iranians are now also thinking about hosting the World Cup in Qatar,” he said. “They are concerned about the reaction of the Qataris. This trend will continue. Iran is under pressure and that translates into aggressive actions.”

Fox News’ Yonat Friling contributed to this report.

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