World Cup could be targeted by Iran: reports

A top Israeli military intelligence official said on Monday that Iran could be mounting an attack on the World Cup, but may hesitate due to uncertainty over how the host Qataris would react.

Major General Aharon Haliva, head of Israeli Defense Forces Intelligence, attended an Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv on Monday, and spoke about protests taking over the country and how they could impact the World Cup, soccer’s biggest international tournament.

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

“Iran is considering disrupting the World Cup 2022 in Qatar,” Haliva said. “However, the only thing preventing them – what will be the Qatari reaction?”

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Protests in Iran have been ongoing ever since a woman named Mahsa Amini died while in custody of the morality police in Tehran in September, in what is being called the biggest challenge to Iran’s clerical leaders since the 1979 revolution.

Not only did Amini’s death spark outrage in Tehran, but the protests spread across the country.

Leaders of the country deployed troops to a Kurdish city to regain control of the town, which was overtaken by protestors.

Protesters in Dag Hammarskj?ld Plaza outside the United Nations building demonstrate against Iranian regime’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, for his direct role in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Raisi is to address the United Nations General Assembly today, September 21, 2022.
(John Mantel for Fox News Digital)

Social media videos showed the streets of Mahabad were filled with military vehicles, and in one incident, Iranian forces opened fire on a crowd gathered for what was supposed to be a speech from the governor.

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Haliva said the current protests are unusual because of their duration and intensity, adding how the demonstrations are changing the lines of civil riots.

It is troubling to Iran’s regime, especially because of growing and existing international pressure and tough economic situation, the general said.

Iranian soccer fans hold up signs reading Woman Life Freedom and Freedom For Iran, prior to the World Cup group B soccer match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

“As the pressure on Iran increases, the Iranian reaction to various events is more aggressive,” he said. “We should expect more aggressive actions by Iran in the region and the world.”

As Iran determines its next step, Haliva was adamant that the World Cup was threatened.

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“I am telling you that the Iranians are now considering hitting the World Cup in Qatar as well,” he said. “They fear the reaction of the Qataris. This trend will continue. Iran is pressured, and this translates into aggressive actions.”

Fox News’ Yonat Friling contributed to this report.