The United States carried out a secret operation in Yemen that targeted, but failed to kill, an Iranian military official last week, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.
The strike was carried out on the same day that the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The timing could suggest that the United States had sought to take out a broader swathe of the Iranian military leadership when it killed Soleimani, citing an imminent threat from him.
The Pentagon declined comment on the failed strike in Yemen, first reported by the Washington Post.
“The Department of Defense does not discuss alleged operations in the region,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.
One of the U.S. officials named the Iranian who had been targeted as Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force, the unit in charge of foreign operations that had been headed by Soleimani.
The U.S. Treasury Department says he was based in Yemen and accused him of “a long history of targeting Americans and U.S. allies globally,” including killing U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. It has offered a $15 million reward in connection with him under its “Rewards for Justice” https://rewardsforjustice.net/english/irgc.html program.