Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander-in-chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Al Qods Brigades, and senior officer of Iranian forces in Iraq, was seriously injured in a targeted attack by an ISIS suicide squad, debkafile reports from military and intelligence sources in the Gulf.
The attack took place near Samarra in central Iraq, after agents of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant managed to infiltrate his command staff and get close enough to their target before blowing themselves up. The date of the assassination attempt has not been revealed.
Soleimani, 58, who is a member of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s closest circle and a pivotal figure in Iranian military and intelligence, was rushed to hospital in Tehran.
In an exclusive report Tuesday, Jan. 13, debkafile first revealed that ISIS had adopted a new tactic of systematically targeting top officers fighting them in Iraq, especially the Iranians, in order to sow confusion and panic among the men under their command.
Soleimani won the epithet in the West as Iran’s Shadow Commander for pulling the strings of his country’s clandestine espionage and terrorist operations outside its borders. For nine years, he has masterminded Iran’s military and political involvement in three conflicts, starting with the Hizballah-Israel war of 2006, the nearly four years of Syria’s bloody conflict and the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Gen. Soleimani it was who laid down the strategy Iran adopted in all these military interventions.
His latest project was a major effort to weld all of Iraq’s Shiite militias into a single popular army, after coming to the conclusion that the national Iraqi army was past rebuilding as a regular military fit for combat operations after its elite division fell apart in its first confrontation with ISIS. The US had invested $25 billion in rebuilding the Iraqi army.
Tuesday, debkafile reported that ISIS had managed to wipe out the forward command group of an Al Qods Brigades commando force early Monday, Jan. 12, killing its commander, Gen. Mehdi Norouzi. His chief is now in bad shape after a jihadist attack using the same modus operandi.