Mohsen Fakhrizadeh automated assassination

Occurred: November 2020

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Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear programme, has been assassinated as he was being driven from Tehran to his weekend villa in Absard. 

Claims by Iranian authorities that gunmen were involved were quickly contradicted by Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency that the attack was carried out using a remote-controlled machine gun.

However, in September 2021, the New York Times published a report confirming that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated using a modified Belgian FN Mag machine gun incorporating robotics and varous forms of artificial intelligence, including facial recognition

According to the Times, the attack was controlled by a Mossad team operating in a command centre outside Iran.

The first known autonomous assassination, the attack prompted politicians, activists and others to voice their fears about the nature and use of lethal autonomous weapons.

Operator: Mossad
Developer: FN MAG
Country: Israel  
Sector: Govt - military
Purpose: Kill/maim/damage/destroy  
Technology: Robotics; Facial recognition
Issue: Dual/multi-use; Autonomous lethal weapons  
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: December 2020
Last updated: September 2021