Croatian journalist and war reporter Hasan Haidar Diab claims that the assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war in 1993 and 1994.
A 56-years old Diab spoke with Soleimani on two occasions, in 2016 and 2017, and when the general learned that his interlocutor was from Croatia, he only asked what the situation was in BiH, Vecernji List reports. Asked by Diab whether he was in BiH, Qassem replied:
“Of course I was, but a long time ago, in 1993 and 1994. Wherever the Muslims need help, I am there.”When he said good-bye to the guard, Soleimani’s response was:
“Pray for me to die as a martyr, that is my greatest desire,” Diab said in the text. According to Diab, he personally met with General Soleimani twice in Iran, once in Tehran at the 2016 conference and the second time in the city of Mashad a year later. He states that the Iranian general acted very modestly, and that “he was seen weighing every word spoken.”
Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and, from 1998 until his death, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.
Soleimani began his military career at the start of the Iran–Iraq War during the 1980s, eventually commanding the 41st Division.
He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, providing military assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the government of Bashar al-Assad, a key Iranian ally, during Iran’s operations in the Syrian Civil War and helped to plan the Russian military intervention in Syria.
Soleimani oversaw the Kurdish and Shia militia forces in Iraq, and assisted the Iraqi forces that advanced against ISIL in 2014–2015.
Soleimani was one of the first to support Kurdish forces, providing them with arms.
He maintained a low profile during most of his career.
Soleimani was widely popular among Iranians, where his supporters viewed him as a “selfless hero fighting Iran’s enemies”, and his status approached that of a national icon.
He was designated as a terrorist by the United States and by the European Union.The entity he led, the Quds Force, is part of the IRGC, which is considered a terrorist organization by Canada, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United States.
Soleimani was assassinated in a targeted U.S. drone strike on 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, which was approved by President Donald Trump on the grounds that Soleimani posed an “imminent threat” to American lives.