In the thirteenth century the Ismaili Shi'ite Hashishin (حشّاشين), or Assassins, got their name from their practice of using hashish before setting out on jihad missions to assassinate Sunni leaders. The modern Shi'ites running Iran seem to have found in them an inspiration and model. "Exclusive: Secret Iran 'Terror' Squad Unmasked," by Sam Kiley for Sky News, March 30 (thanks to Kenneth):Intelligence agencies are searching for members of a secret Iranian network of assassins under orders to attack Jewish, Israeli and Western targets in Turkey.
According to intelligence sources, the organisation behind the attack is known as Unit 400, a secret part of the al Quds Brigade, which falls under the direct command of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader.
"Unit 400 of the Qods Force has been developing in the last few months a standing operating procedure for carrying out an attack in Turkey against western targets as well as Israeli and Jewish. It is our firm assessment that these procedures are in a very advanced stage, and that the intention is to act on the plans very soon," an intelligence source told Sky News.
There is also evidence that Unit 400 has been given instructions to carry out more frequent and more daring 'terror' attacks around the world as a demonstration of 'Iran's asymmetric power' - in the face of the growing threat of Israeli or American air strikes on its alleged nuclear weapons programme, the sources said.
The sources named a senior officer in Unit 400 as being a key Iranian agent who "has been working up plans for potential attacks in European countries".
Israel and the United States have repeatedly said that Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has also warned that the window for launching military strikes to destroy it is closing fast.
Intelligence services in the West and Middle East, where Iran is treated with deep suspicion for its support of Syria, may have an interest in painting Iran in a poor light and associating it with international terrorism as a means of building the case for military intervention against its alleged weapons programme.
But it is equally likely that intelligence organisations want to warn their political masters of the dangers of backing an attack against Tehran, which has made no secret of its plans to carry out revenge operations.
"Unit 400 is a top-secret "special ops" unit within the elite overseas wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF). It plans and carries out terror attacks on external targets, and provides material support to foreign militia groups, at the direct behest of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This is in accordance with the regime's core strategic considerations about how best to challenge perceived enemies in Israel and the west - through asymmetric warfare - and to cope with mounting international pressure over its nuclear programme," a secret study by a foreign intelligence agency said....