January 10, 2020 / 6:23 PM / 13 days ago

Reuters first with news of killing of Iranian General Soleimani, the plot to attack U.S. forces and how informants helped target the commander

A picture of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, is seen on the former U.S. Embassy's building in Tehran, Iran January 7, 2020. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)

Reuters has led coverage of the killing of Iranian General Soleimani and the events that followed over the past week, from the airstrike that killed the commander to his plot to attack U.S. forces in Iraq to how informants helped target Soleimani.

Reuters was first to report last week that an airstrike had killed a senior Iranian military commander in Iraq, leading with news of the airstrike and with confirmation from Iran that the strike had killed its most prominent military commander Qassem Soleimani.

Reuters followed with an inside look at the plot by Soleimani to attack U.S. forces in Iraq, reporting that Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, in October, where he instructed his top ally in Iraq and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters.

Yesterday, Reuters exclusively reported that investigators have focused on how suspected informants inside the Damascus and Baghdad airports collaborated with the U.S. military to help track and pinpoint Soleimani’s position, according to Reuters interviews with two security officials with direct knowledge of Iraq’s investigation, two Baghdad airport employees, two police officials and two employees of Syria’s Cham Wings Airlines, a private commercial airline headquartered in Damascus. The probe is being led by Falih al-Fayadh, who serves as Iraq’s National Security Adviser and the head of the PMF, the body that coordinates with Iraq’s mostly Shi’ite militias, many of which are backed by Iran and had close ties to Soleimani. The National Security agency’s investigators have “strong indications that a network of spies inside Baghdad Airport were involved in leaking sensitive security details” on Soleimani’s arrival to the United States, one of the Iraqi security officials told Reuters.

Heather Carpenter

heather.carpenter @ thomsonreuters.com

[Reuters PR Blog Post]

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