A document leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden shows that the elite Israeli naval unit Shayetet 13 had infiltrated Syria in 2008 and shot a Syrian general during a dinner party at his villa.
The general, Muhammad Suleiman, has been accused of being involved with developing Syria’s Ali Kibar nuclear facility, which was destroyed in airstrike attributed to Israel in media reports. Suleiman also allegedly had a role in the training of Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Syria.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has not responded to inquiries about the document outlining the death of Suleiman. But sources from The Intercept, a website run by journalist Glenn Greenwald that has been reporting on Snowden’s leaks, said the U.S. government has long been monitoring Israel’s espionage efforts in Syria.
“We’ve had access to Israeli military communications for some time,” said a former U.S. intelligence official. Another retired U.S. intelligence officer said that for Israel, the killing of Suleiman is “not only payback, but mitigates future [terrorist] operations.”
“They will take a target of opportunity if it presents itself,” the second officer said, the Jerusalem Post reported.