A top Israeli intelligence official has confirmed his country’s role in the assassination of Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani last year.
The former head of Military Intelligence, Major-General Tamir Hayman, disclosed the information in an interview with an Israeli magazine.
Soleimani was killed in a targeted US drone strike as he arrived at Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.
A few days after he was killed, NBC News reported that Israeli intelligence helped the US through its informants at the Damascus airport who tipped off the CIA about the time Soleimani's plane took off for Baghdad.
Another report published in Mayhad said that Israel gave the US access to Soleimani’s multiple cellphone numbers to help track him, but no top official had acknowledged Israel’s role before.
“The assassination of Soleimani was an achievement since our main enemy, in my eyes, is Iran,” Hayman said. “It is rare to locate someone so senior who is also the operator on the ground, the strategist and the fighter.”
He added that Israel has carried out multiple operations to disrupt the spread of Iranian weapons and funds throughout the region but described Soleimani’s killing as one of “two significant and important assassinations” during his tenure, the other being Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata.
“We thwarted a lot of ways they tried to smuggle weapons and money and the headline of all of this is stopping the Iranians from entrenching themselves in Syria,” he said.