US forces launched a secret operation in Yemen targeting a second leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force on the day that Qassem Soleimani was killed in Iraq, but the mission failed, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
The strike targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key Quds Force commander based in Yemen, but did not result in his death, the Post said, citing four unnamed US officials familiar with the mission.
The newspaper speculated that twin targets in different nations undermined Trump administration claims that Soleimani’s killing was intended to prevent an imminent Iranian attack.
In December, the State Department offered a $15 million bounty for information on Shahlai’s location in Yemen, claiming he had a long history of plotting attacks against US and coalition targets.
US-Iranian relations deteriorated further after the drone attack ordered by US President Donald Trump near the airport in Baghdad, which killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani last week.
Iran retaliated on Wednesday by firing missiles at Iraqi bases hosting American forces. No one was injured as a result of the attack, according to Washington.