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US tried to kill two Iranian chiefs in one day: report

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 10,2020

The U.S. tried to target a top Iranian military commander in Yemen on the same day that it successfully assassinated Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq last week, the Washington Post daily has reported.

The newspaper on Friday reported about a top-secret mission against Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, who was actively involved in Yemen's multi-faction civil war.

The attack did not cause Shahlai's death, U.S. officials told The Post. It took place on Jan. 3, the same day that a U.S. drone strike near an airport in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, killed Soleimani and others.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, senior U.S. officials reportedly told The Post few details about an operation that ultimately failed to achieve its goal of eliminating another Iranian who advanced ties between Tehran and its foreign allied militias.

"If we had killed him, we'd be bragging about it that same night," one senior U.S. official told the newspaper, speaking about classified military operations on the condition of anonymity.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a multi-nation nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and used sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign to deter what it calls Tehran's destabilizing behavior in the region.

The U.S. strikes were ostensibly aimed at Iranian military commanders who led Tehran's cooperation with and support for Yemen's Houthi rebels, the armed Lebanese group Hizbollah and Shia militias across Iraq and Syria.

In Yemen, Iran is understood to support the Houthi rebel group, which has since 2015 been fighting a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that seeks to restore ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government. Tehran denies any involvement.