Israel’s former military intelligence chief has confirmed the country’s role in taking out Iran’s commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January 2020.
“Soleimani’s assassination is an achievement, since our main enemy, in my eyes, are the Iranians," Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Tamir Hayman said in an interview with Malam magazine which is published by the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. He finished his term in October.
Though Israel had been rumored to have shared intelligence regarding Soleimani’s location to the U.S. for the targeted killing, it was the first public acknowledgement of Israel's role in the operation.
Hayman added that Soleimani’s killing was one of "two significant and important assassinations [that] can be noted in my term.” The other, he said, was the assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata in the Gaza Strip in 2019 in Operation Black Belt. Al-Ata was reportedly in the midst of planning a series of attacks against Israeli civilians and Israel Defense Force (IDF) troops, including preparations for sniper and kidnapping attacks, armed drone attacks, and rocket fire throughout Israel.
The official further claimed that Israel thwarted Iran’s attempts to smuggle weapons and money. “The headline of all of this is stopping the Iranians from entrenching themselves in Syria,” he added.