World Cup could be targeted by Iran: reports

A senior Israeli military intelligence official said Monday that Iran could launch an attack on the World Cup but may hesitate due to uncertainty over how the host country’s Qataris would respond.

Major General Aharon Haliva, head of intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces, attended a conference organized by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv on Monday and spoke about the protests taking over the country and how they relate to the World Cup, which is being held largest international football tournament.

Enner Valencia of Ecuador scores his team'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.

Enner Valencia of Ecuador scores his team’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 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” Haliva said. “But the only thing stopping them – what will Qatar’s reaction be?”

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Protests in Iran have continued since a woman named Mahsa Amini died in morality police custody in Tehran in September in what has been described as the greatest challenge to Iran’s spiritual leaders since the 1979 revolution.

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

Country leaders dispatched troops to a Kurdish town to regain control of the town, which was taken by protesters.

Demonstrators at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza in front of the United Nations building are demonstrating against the President of the Iranian regime, Ebrahim Raisi, for his direct role in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Raisi will appear before the General Assembly today, September 21, 2022 speak to the United Nations.

Demonstrators at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza in front of the United Nations building are demonstrating against the President of the Iranian regime, Ebrahim Raisi, for his direct role in the massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Raisi will appear before the General Assembly today, September 21, 2022 speak to the United Nations.
(John Mantel for Fox News Digital)

Social media videos showed the streets of Mahabad were packed with military vehicles, and in one incident, Iranian forces opened fire on a crowd gathered for a speech by 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 lines of civil unrest.

It is worrying for the Iranian regime, especially because of the growing and existing international pressure and difficult economic situation, the general said.

Iranian soccer fans hold up signs reading Woman Life Freedom and Freedom For Iran before the World Cup Group B soccer match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday, November 21, 2022.

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

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

As Iran finalized its next move, Haliva insisted the World Cup was under threat.

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“I’m telling you that the Iranians are now considering going to the World Cup in Qatar,” he said. “They fear the reaction of the Qataris. This trend will continue. Pressure is being put on Iran, which translates into aggressive actions.”

Fox News’ Yonat Friling contributed to this report.

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