US unsuccessfully tried to kill second Iranian commander in Yemen on same day as Soleimani assassination, officals say

Millions of dollars available as reward for information on Abdul Reza Shahlai

Zoe Tidman
Saturday 11 January 2020 11:45
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US announces new sanctions against Iran

The US tried to take out another top Iranian military figure on the same day as Qassem Soleimani was killed, according to officials.

Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was reportedly the target of a failed airstrike in Yemen.

US officials said the unsuccessful mission happened on the day Soleimani, a senior Iranian general, died in a drone strike.

Soleimani’s assassination prompted Iran to threaten “revenge” and carry out missile attacks against two US army bases in Iraq, causing no casualties.

Both men were on approved US military targeting lists.

The US State Department offered a reward of $15m (£11.5m) last month for information on Mr Shahlai, a key financier to the IRGC.

The military official “has a long history of targeting Americans and US allies globally”, helped to plan multiple assassinations of coalition forces in Iraq and led a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington DC, the department said.

Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokesperson, said an airstrike in Yemen had been reported in early January.

She said the country “is long-understood as a safe space for terrorists and other adversaries to the United States”, according to The Washington Post.

Soleimani was killed in Iraq on 3 January in a drone strike by US forces.

The assassination has proved controversial and has been called “provocative and disproportionate” by Nancy Pelosi, the house speaker.

Donald Trump, the US president, has claimed without evidence that the military leader was planning to attack four US embassies.

Tensions have escalated in the Middle East following the assassination, with Iran attacking military bases used by the US in Iraq and promising to throw out its international nuclear deal.

Iran has admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing around 180 people.

The country’s foreign minister said the “disaster” was a result of “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism”.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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