Gen Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, was killed in an air strike at Baghdad's international airport Friday, Pentagon sources confirmed. The Quds Force, headquatered at Tehran, Iran, and also known as Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been held responsible for being involved in Syria Civil war, 1982 Lebanon war, Iran-Iraq war to name a few.
It was also allegedly responsible for the 2012 attacks on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi.
Four people were injured after a bomb explosion on a Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi. The incident left one embassy staff member, a local employee and two people in a nearby car wounded.
A motorcyclist had allegedly attached a bomb to a car belonging to Tal Yehoshua-Koren, wife of Israeli defence attache to India. She was on the way to pick up her children from school when the incident took place. Tal sustained injured that required a surgery and her driver and two others suffered minor injuries. At around same time as the attack in India, a bomb was planted in a car in Tbilisi, Georgia. It had, however, failed to explode. Georgian police defused the bomb safely.
These attempts on the lives of Israeli diplomats came a month after the assassination of an Iranian scientist that it had blamed on Israel. Tehran had vowed to take revenge for the killings of the scientists. The attacks also coincided with the anniversary of the assassination of Iran-backed Shiite Lebanese group, Hezbollah leader, Imad Mughniyeh.
Delhi police had concluded that suspects were members of IRGC. As reported by Times of India, the investigation report revealed that the IRGC members had discussed the plans to carry out attacks on Israeli diplomats in India and other countries with an Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, who claimed to work at an Iranian news organisation, in January 2011. The attacks on Israeli diplomats were planned after Iranian scientists had been allegedly attacked by Israelis. Investigations also revealed that Kazmi was in contact with the members of IRGC for nearly 10 years. Delhi police arrested him on March 7, 2012. The police also said that Kazmi was in touch with Masoud Sedaghatzadeh, the mastermind of the attack and Kazmi had received foreign remittances of Rs 3.8 lakh while his wife had recieved Rs 1.88 million. He was granted bail in October, 2012.
The attacks in India occurred when India had just replaced China as Iran's sole biggest crude oil importer. The imports had increased to 5,50,000 barrels per day in January 2012.
The question of 'Why would Iran do this to its biggest customer?' arose affter the attacks.
Delhi police had detained five people in connection with the incident but they were released after interrogation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had blamed Iran for attacks in India and Georgia. He also said that Iran is the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world and Iraeli government will continue to take action against terrorism.
Iran's Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks but denied all allegations against them.
Speaking on the attack, the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said that those involved in this crime would be punished.
The day after the attacks in India and Georgia, another failed attempts in Bangkok and Thailand left four people injured. However, the targets were not known.
The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, the officials said.
Besides Soleimani, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the US airstrike at Baghdad's international airport, reported Iraqi officials and state television. Pentagon on Thursday (local time) said it has carried out a "defensive action" at the "direction" of President Donald Trump to protect US personnel abroad by killing the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani.
Pentagon has released a statement hours after media around the world reported that Soleimani alongside six others was killed following a US airstrike at Baghdad's international airport. Pentagon said that the strikes were aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. Pentagon has accused Soleimani of orchestrating several attacks on coalition bases in Iraq including the December 27 attack in which American and Iraqi personnel were killed.
The attack has come days after an Iran-backed militia and other protestors attacked the United States Embassy in Baghdad. The attack on the embassy came as a retaliation to a deadly US airstrike that killed at least 25 people of the PMF.
The US has vowed to take action against the breach by protestors.