The Iranian government claimed on Thursday that it had foiled an Arab-Israeli plot to assassinate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Qud’s Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
Hossein Ta’eb, the IRGC’sHead of Intelligence, said that three suspects in the alleged plot were arrested, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported.Ta’eb said the assassins had worked on their plan for a number of years. It involved blowing up Soleimani at a memorial service during the Muslim month of Muharram, which began in early September, in order to “trigger a religious war inside Iran.” “Frustrated by their failure to upset security in Iran or to harm the IRGC military bases, the enemies had hatched an extensive plot to hit Maj.-Gen. Soleimani in his home province of Kerman,” Ta’eb was quoted as saying.The team planned to buy a house near a congregation hall where Shi’ite memorial prayers are held, according to Ta’eb. The hall was built in the southern Iranian province of Kerman in honor of Soleimani’s father, who died in 2017. The team reportedly planned to tunnel under the building and detonate a 500 kg. bomb during the mourning period of Fatimiyya, which commemorates the martyrdom of Fatimah al-Zahra, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and wife of the Caliph Ali, “as soon as Maj.-Gen. Soleimani went to the mourning ceremony like every year.”Ta’eb stated that the IRGC had been watching the team, which had been planning the attack for several years, before it entered the Islamic Republic.On Tuesday, Soleimani claimed that he and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah escaped an Israeli assassination bid in Beirut in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War.“Israeli spy planes were constantly flying overhead” in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyeh in southern Beirut, Soleimani said during a rare interview that was screened on Iranian television.In September, a senior Israeli defense official said that while preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb remains the Jewish State’s top priority, thwarting Hezbollah’s precision-missile project has become its second objective. A third ambition is to prevent Iranian entrenchment in various Middle Eastern countries including Iraq and Yemen.“Our three targets have one address – Iran,” the source said, adding that Iran’s Quds Force Commander Soleimani is the address for two of the three threats. He declined to elaborate further.“To prevent this consolidation by Iran, we are carrying out many operations that nobody knows anything about,” he said, adding that the operations are carried out by the IDF and the Mossad.