The Israeli Mossad agent who died in a boat capsizing in northern Italy’s Lake Maggiore last Sunday (May 28) was there as part of "an operation against Iranian activity," Haaretz newspaper revealed, citing a report by Hebrew media outlet Channel 12.
"The boat full of Israeli and Italian intelligence agents was actually a dinner celebrating the mission’s success," Haaretz wrote. The dead agent "was working in the area as part of an operation targeting Iranian non-conventional weapons capabilities."
The drownings took place on May 28. The boat reportedly capsized due to bad weather, with authorities investigating whether it may have been carrying too many people.
Israel initially only acknowledged that the man was a retired security forces member, and kept his identity secret. His role in the Mossad was soon made clear.
On June 1st, a former Israeli spy chief revealed in an interview that the man was "not there for vacation" but was instead on the job.
An Italian investigative report also revealed that across the lake where the incident happened was a "heavy" Russian presence, adding that the Italian and Israeli agents on board may have been monitoring drone-equipment deals between Iranian and Italian firms, potentially for the Ukraine war.
The report also reveals that Erez Shimoni, the name by which the agent was identified in media reports, is a "cover name given to the deceased."
The incident remains mysterious. According to Israeli media, the funeral service was attended by Mossad chief David Barnea and a number of disguised spy officials. Footage of the funeral released in the media was blurred, and the deceased’s name was replaced with a code letter throughout the service.
The Haaretz report comes as suspicion has been building around the narratives that Israel attaches to the death of its soldiers and intelligence officials.
Just one day ago, three Israeli soldiers were killed in an operation carried out by an Egyptian officer on the border between Egypt and Israel. The killings were under heavy gag orders by Israeli authorities for hours before the details eventually emerged.