Yossi Cohen, who is the director of the Israeli spy agency Mossad, has acknowledged having a “prestigious” assassination list at his disposal, claiming that targeting foreign influential figures, including Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani, is “not impossible.”
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said a potential Israeli assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was “not impossible.”
In a profile piece for ultra-Orthodox newspaper Mishpacha, Cohen was asked about Soleimani’s claim that Israeli aircraft targeted him and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
“With all due respect to his bluster, he hasn’t necessarily committed the mistake yet that would place him on the prestigious list of Mossad’s assassination targets,” Cohen said. “He knows very well that his assassination is not impossible. His actions are identified and felt everywhere… there’s no doubt the infrastructure he built presents a serious challenge for Israel.”
Cohen also commented that Nasrallah “knows we have the option of eliminating him” but did not answer when asked why Israel does not do so. The Times of Israel published the remarks on October 11.
The New York Times had earlier revealed a March 2017 meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in which top Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asked a small group of businessmen last year about using private companies to assassinate Iranian enemies of the kingdom.
Last week, the intelligence unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said it had thwarted an Arab-Israeli plot to assassinate General Soleimani, who commands the IRGC’s Quds Force, in the southeastern Iranian province of Kerman.
Cohen’s remarks come after a senior Israeli minister boasted that Israel was the only entity “in the world killing Iranians” with impunity. He said that only a minority of the Israeli regime’s bombing raids on Iranian targets in Syria had been publicly acknowledged.
“We strike the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria. Sometimes we acknowledge it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it,” Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli regional cooperation minister, told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan radio in July.