Eight Iranian Jews who went missing in the 1990s were murdered while attempting to leave Iran and reach Israel, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued on Now Ruz.
The deceased left in three groups in 1994, the statement said.
The office, to which Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency reports, said the Mossad was able to ascertain what happened to the eight through a “credible source” who provided a photograph proving the eight had died.
The statement said eight Iranian Jews tried to flee the country in three groups in 1994. It said the fate of another three Jews who tried to leave in 1997 remains unknown.
The statement did not say who killed the eight Jews, who were not identified by name, or how and where they were killed.
“The Mossad led to an intelligence breakthrough that enabled the issue to be brought to its conclusion,” the statement read. “Intelligence sources received information from a credible source that these same Jews were caught during the escape and murdered.”
The statement also said that some of the deceased had wives who had remained agunot, or chained, a Hebrew term signifying their inability to remarry in an Orthodox Jewish wedding ceremony for as long as their husbands’ fates remained unknown. The Mossad conclusion thus serves a religious purpose.
In the same statement, David Meidan, a retired Mossad executive who handled the investigation, said the disappearance had occupied the intelligence services for two decades.
“First and foremost, this is a major intelligence achievement in that we succeeded in finding a credible source in a difficult region, who provided reliable information on the basis of which a picture was obtained regarding the fates of eight of the 11 missing persons,” he said. “Today we informed the families that the circle has been closed.”