Iran foils 'Israeli, Arab' plot to assassinate Qassem Soleimani
Iranian authorities foiled an assassination attempt against the head of the Revolutionary Guards' foreign wing, or Quds Force, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.
The attempt against Major-General Qassem Soleimani's life took place in September, when the military leader planned to attend a religious ceremony in the south-eastern Kerman province.
The report said attackers had planned to plant nearly 500 kilograms, about 1,102 pounds, of explosives in an underground tunnel beneath where Soleimani would have been.
The report didn't elaborate on number of the suspects, but said they were linked to Israeli and Arab intelligence services.
Hossein Taeb, the Revolutionary Guards' security chief, said the plot had been "years in planning".
He told a press conference that the plotters had also planned to buy a property next to the grave of Soleimani's father and rig it with explosives.
Soleimani, the architect of Iran's regional entrenchment, has been one of the most influential commanders of the Revolutionary Guard and played a key role in fights against the extremist Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier this week, Soleimani claimed that Israeli aircraft had targeted him and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah, in Beirut during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war.
He made the comments during his first major interview screened on Iranian television, in which he claimed to have spent the duration of the 34-day war in Lebanon.
Soleimani said he reported to Tehran on a daily basis during the conflict, after having entered the country via Syria alongside Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, who Israel assassinated in 2008.