An overnight U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. The US Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It also accused Soleimani of approving the orchestrated violent protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
The airport strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of harsh retaliation.
The IDF has gone on high alert and PM Netanyahu cut his state visit to Greece short to head back to Israel. But Israeli government officials are not commenting on the US attack. Israeli embassies have been placed on high alert.
Meanwhile, the IDF has been working on creating a new commando unit specially trained and equipped to operate deep in enemy territory. The unit is expected to be operation within a year.
The leaders of Israel, Greece and Cyprus signed a deal in Athens for an undersea pipeline that will carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe. The 1,300 mile pipeline will run from Israel’s Levantine Basin offshore gas reserves to Cyprus, the Greek island of Crete and the Greek mainland. An overland pipeline to northwestern Greece and another planned undersea pipeline will carry the gas to Italy. The pipeline is expected to take 7 years to build.
Israel’s Supreme Court has decided not to rule on a petition as to whether an indicted parliament member can form a government, which gives PM Netanyahu to potentially form a new government if he wins the election. THe court said that the petition was ” theoretical and premature.” Israeli law requires cabinet ministers and mayors to resign if indicted but does not specify so for a sitting prime minister.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will develop and build Israel’s national communications satellite, to be called Dror 1. It will largely be based on Israeli technology, and is intended to answer the country’s satellite communications needs for fifteen years. The project’s estimated cost is $190-200 million, most of which will be borne by the state.
According to report published by the National Insurance Institute of Israel , 490,400 families in Israel live in poverty, including 841,700 children.