Israeli intel helped the US assassinate Soleimani: report

Israeli intel helped the US assassinate Soleimani: report
US media reported that Israeli informants based at a Syrian airport provided critical details on Soleimani's flight into Baghdad.
2 min read
12 January, 2020
Netanyahu was the only non-US leader informed of the operation beforehand [Getty]
Israel provided critical intelligence details which led to the killing of the head of Iran's elite Quds force, General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike outside Baghdad airport last week, US media reported on Sunday.

According to NBC, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recieved intelligence on Soleimani's nightime flight from Damascus to Baghdad, from two informants, which the agency then confirmed and verified.

Once the Cham Wing's Airbus A320 landed in the Iraqi capital, American intelligence agents were able to pinpoint Soleimani's location, the report said, quoting two sources with direct knowledge of the operation. 

Three drones hovered above the American-controlled airspace, armed with Hellfire missiles.

They tracked Soleimani's movements outside the airport and into his convoy; one sedan carrying the general and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of Kata'ib Hezbollah, and another minivan with their entourage. 

Four hellfire missiles struck the convoy on January 3, killing the entire group. 

Read more: Who was Qassem Soleimani, the powerful commander of Iran's elit Quds force?

The New York Times also reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was likely Washington's only ally who had prior knowledge of the assisination.

Netanyahu spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 1, who perhaps offered him thanks for Israel's assistance in the fight against Iranian agression, and following the attack on the US embassy in Iraq.

At Ben Gurion airport the next morning, the Israeli Prime Minister adressed reporters ominously, before departing for Athens.

"We know that our region is stormy; very, very dramatic things are happening in it. We are alert and are monitoring the situation. We are in continuous contact with our great friend the US, including my conversation yesterday afternoon," he said.

The airstrike, which killed Soleimani and Al-Muhandis, took place hours after. 

According to Haaretz, Iraqi authorities have detained four people - two Baghdad airport employees and two Cham Wings airline workers, for allegedly colluding with the US.

They are believed to be part of a larger network that provided information about Soleimani to the US.

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