IDF says Israel 'not the story' in Soleimani killing

Israeli army distances itself from the assassination of top Iranian commander in a first official comment since the U.S. raid on Friday; adds no attempts by Iran-backed, Gaza-based Islamic Jihad to avenge the death have been identified
Nina Fuchs|
The Israeli military on Monday distanced itself from the killing of the top Iranian general by the U.S., saying it is monitoring the events.
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  • Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, was killed in an airstrike early Friday near the Iraqi capital's international airport that has caused regional tensions to soar.
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    ועידת ידיעות אחרונות
    ועידת ידיעות אחרונות
    GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi
    (Photo: Amit Shaabi)
    "We're watching from the sidelines," GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi said at the Ynet conference in Jerusalem. "We need to look at assassinations such as this as part of a battle between Iran and the U.S. over Iraq's character," he added.
    Halevi said the assassination will most likely have an impact on Israel but added that Israelis “are not the story here.”
    “It's good that it happened so far away."
    The IDF official also said the military has so far not identified any attempts by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a recipient of Iranian military and financial support, to carry out attacks against Israel in response for the killing.
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    ארון עם איור של בנימין נתניהו בהלווית קאסם סולימאני ב טהרן איראן
    ארון עם איור של בנימין נתניהו בהלווית קאסם סולימאני ב טהרן איראן
    U.S. and Israeli flags carried on a coffin in Tehran
    (Photo: AFP)
    “We hit Islamic Jihad with a significant blow,” he said, referring to November’s cross-border flare-up in Gaza after Israel assassinated a top Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al Ata.
    Halevi added that overall, the situation in Gaza is “unstable” but the conditions for a potential long-term ceasefire arrangement with Hamas have improved.
    “We will be ready for any scenario in 2020."
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