Former head of the Israeli military intelligence Major General Tamir Hayman says the Tel Aviv regime was involved in the 2020 assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike near the Iraqi capital’s international airport.
“Soleimani’s assassination is an achievement, since our main enemy, in my eyes, are the Iranians,” Hayman said in an interview with the Malam magazine, published by the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center.
Hayman’s remarks mark the first time a top Israeli official confirms Israel’s role in the US-led operation.
Back in May, it was reported that Israel provided the US with key intelligence support, including tracking General Soleimani’s cellphone.
“In Tel Aviv, US Joint Special Operations Command liaisons worked with their Israeli counterparts to help track Soleimani’s cellphone patterns,” Yahoo News reported on May 8. “The Israelis, who had access to Soleimani’s numbers, passed them off to the Americans, who traced Soleimani and his current phone to Baghdad.”
In remarks in October, Hayman said the assassination made a “significant contribution” to Israel’s security, after saying that it was “one of the most significant and important events in my time.”
However, former US president Donald Trump was described by a former official as unhappy with Israel’s level of involvement in the assassination, according to an Axois report, as he “expected Israel to play a more active role in the attack.”
General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated along with their companions in a US terrorist drone strike authorized by Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.
Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill two days later, demanding the expulsion of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country.
Both commanders were admired by Muslim nations for eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
The US assassination drew a wave of condemnation from officials and movements throughout the world and triggered huge public protests across the region.
Early on January 8, the IRGC targeted the US-run Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq’s western province of Anbar with a barrage of missiles to retaliate the assassination of General Soleimani.
According to the US Defense Department, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base.
Iran has described the missile attack on Ain al-Assad airbase as a “first slap.”
Iranian Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei on October 18 underlined the need for the most serious prosecution of the perpetrators of the assassination of General Soleimani and a number of Iranian scientists.
“We will not allow the blood of these innocent people to be wasted,” Mohseni-Ejei said, blaming the US and the Israeli regime for the terrorist attack.