Israeli army insists it ‘had no role in Soleimani killing’

A file photo of Israeli special forces in a training exercise as they practice taking over a building on an unspecified army base somewhere in Israel. EPA PHOTO/EPA/ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES

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The Israel Defense Forces played no part in the killing of Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, IDF’s international spokesperson Jonathan Conricus tells FRANCE 24’s Middle East Matters programme, describing the senior commander’s death as an “opportunity” for the region.

Reports had indicated that Israeli intelligence helped locate the target of the US strike on Soleimani.

His killing was “a good thing,” Cornicus said, describing the Iranian general as “one of the most notorious and murderous terrorists that we have faced”.

The IDF spokesperson denied claims that Soleimani’s death threatened to bring further instability to the region, days after Iran launched retaliatory missile strikes on US targets in Iraq and mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people on board.

“For the immediate term the region, the Middle East, has the potential to be more stable, more safe,” Cornicus said, arguing that the US strike on Soleimani had removed a key fomenter of regional instability.

In a separate development, the Syrian army said on Tuesday Israeli jets attacked the main T4 air base in Homs province and that its air defences downed several missiles in strikes that caused only material damage.

An army spokesman told state media that four Israeli missiles did reach the base but said air defences intercepted several others that were brought down. State television earlier did not say who was behind the attack on a major air base. Israel has repeatedly bombed Iranian backed militia targets in Syria, saying its goal was to end Tehran’s military presence in the war-torn country.

Read more via France 24

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