Israel was involved in the American airstrike that killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in January 2020, the outgoing head of Israeli military intelligence said.
Former IDF intelligence chief Major General Tamir Hayman said in an interview that the killing was one of “two significant and important assassinations” during his tenure, the other being Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata.
“Soleimani’s assassination is an achievement, since our main enemy, in my eyes, are the Iranians. Two significant and important assassinations can be noted in my term,” Heyman said.
Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed by U.S. forces at the direction of President Donald Trump on Thursday evening, was sanctioned by the Obama administration in 2011 for his role in a foiled terror attack on Washington, D.C. https://t.co/y6O2VzNuxm
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 3, 2020
“The first, as I’ve already recalled, is that of Qassem Soleimani — it’s rare to locate someone so senior, who is the architect of the fighting force, the strategist and the operator — it’s rare,” he said.
Heymen also admitted that Israel has carried out several campaigns to stop the proliferation of Iranian weapons in the region.
Heyman called Soleimani “the engine of the train of Iranian entrenchment” in Syria. Israeli strikes had succeeded in “preventing the attempt by Iran to put down roots in Syria.”
Days after he was killed, NBC News reported that Israeli intelligence helped the United States to assassinate Soleimani.
A U.N. official claims the killing of Iranian terrorist mastermind Gen. Qasem Soleimani was a violation of international law. https://t.co/Qs0zBLSEQv
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 5, 2020
A Yahoo News report later said Israel “had access to Soleimani’s numbers” and provided that intelligence to the U.S. But Heyman’s admission was the first open confirmation of Israeli involvement.
The news comes ahead of a visit by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Jerusalem to discuss the Iranian threat.