General Soleimani, the head of the IRGC’s foreign operations arm, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the leader of the Iranian-allied Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, and ten of their deputies were killed by an armed drone strike as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport. The attack was ordered by then US President Donald Trump, Al-Mayadeeen reported.
To date, Iran’s chief civilian prosecutor has indicted 36 individuals in connection with the assassination, among them former president Trump, the head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., and former US Secretaries of State and Defence Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper.
The file remains open to the further addition of individuals that Tehran determines to have played a role in the killing.
“Based on the statements of the prosecutor-general the list of 36 names is open, as is the role of nine others including German military personnel under investigation. The German military personnel are suspected of facilitating the assassination. Their number and exact role is not known and although I suspect, I am still not sure if they are the ones operating at Ramstein (Airbase),” the source said, asking to remain unnamed.
Ramstein Airbase in Germany is one of the largest American military installations in the world, functioning as a command center for NATO, the US air force’s European and African commands as well as a primary hub for drone operations throughout the Greater Middle East and North Africa.
“G4S that is in charge of Baghdad International Airport security also stands accused of involvement in Lt. General Haj Qassem Soleimani’s assassination,” they added.
G4S is a British multinational private security company that is among the world’s largest private employers with a workforce of over 500,000 as of 2020.
Some 26 of the indicted individuals are known to be American and Israeli military and intelligence personnel, at least four of whom have died since January 3- 2020. On July 1 of this year, the Israeli press reported the death of Col. Sharon Asman of the elite Nahal Brigade, claiming he had collapsed during a training exercise.
On September 20, the Lebanese outlet The Cradle reported a source from the Axis of Resistance had claimed responsibility for Asman’s death as well as that of US Lt. Col. James Willis of the elite ‘Red Horse Brigade.’ Col. Willis was also claimed to have died in a ‘non-combat’ related incident on the ‘Al-Udeid’ Airbase in Qatar.
My own source confirmed that Asman, along with two other Israeli personnel had indeed been killed in a drone strike in the Northern Kurdish Autonomous Region which targeted a communication site operated by Mossad. They were less certain on the circumstances of Col. Willis’ death but were clear the operation had been carried out by some element of the ‘Axis of Resistance.’
“In the war on the terrorist groups in Syria, the Resistance Front had a command-center, which still operates, and any individual branch could have been tasked with the mission,” the source added.
Among the 36 indicted individuals were also seven local agents from regional Arab states, believed to include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, UAE, and Qatar. Most of these individuals have now been either apprehended or killed by the authorities of their own countries or by the Resistance Front.
In the days following the Soleimani assassination, a CIA surveillance plane crashed in Ghazni province in Afghanistan, killing all on board. For a time, it was speculated in regional and international media that the aircraft was the command center directing the drone strike and that none other than Michael D’Andrea, the head of CIA operations against Iran, had been on board. The trail of information quickly ran cold and it remains unknown whether D’Andrea was indeed killed or remains at large.
The anonymous source doubted the reliability of reports of his death but noted that it may well have been part of a covert campaign of retaliation for the Baghdad Airport drone strike.
“I believe that has not been the case. It was an intelligence collecting plane that was shot down over Afghanistan and it was definitely a CIA plane. There were several CIA and US army intelligence officers on board. The shooting down of that plane as well as several US army choppers around the same day could have been part of this retaliation,” the source added.
The anonymous source reiterated Tehran’s determination to pursue every individual involved in the killing, making particular mention of the drone operators.
“The US army drone-pilot community will have a lot to pay. We will never forget. We will never forgive,” the source added.