A Yahoo News report on Motzei Shabbos provided new information on the US elimination of Quds Force commander Gen. Qassam Soleimani during the presidency of Donald Trump.
Soleimani was reportedly planning imminent attacks against US diplomats and military personnel. Past administrations had considered eliminating Soleimani but chose not to do so due to the risk of escalation. According to the report, Israel had a key role in keeping the option of eliminating Soleimani on the table despite resistance by some US defense officials.
After the US made a decision to assassinate Soleimani, Israel provided the US with multiple cellphone numbers used by the Iranian general to aid in pinpointing his location.
“In the six hours before Soleimani boarded his flight from Damascus, the Iranian general switched cellphones three times, according to a US military official,” the report stated.
“In Tel Aviv, US Joint Special Operations Command liaisons worked with their Israeli counterparts to help track Soleimani’s cellphone patterns. The Israelis, who had access to Soleimani’s numbers, passed them off to the Americans, who traced Soleimani and his current phone to Baghdad.”
Additionally, Israeli intelligence had previously enabled the US to place spyware on phones used by a Soleimani cohort.
“Israeli intelligence at one point tipped off the CIA about a courier for Soleimani who would travel outside Iran to pick up clean phones for the Quds Force leader and his inner circle, recalled a former intelligence official. The CIA got wind that the courier would visit a specific market in a Gulf country to procure these devices, and sprang into action. The agency executed a complex supply chain compromise, installing spyware on a set of phones that were seeded into the marketplace used by Soleimani’s courier,”
“The gambit worked, said the former official, and the courier purchased at least one bugged phone that was then used by someone who was often in the same room as Soleimani. But because Soleimani and other Iranian leadership would often rotate their devices, and employ other measures to avoid being surveilled, successes of this sort were fleeting, said former officials.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)