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Iranian media revealed new details about the killing of the American intelligence man, Michael Dandria, nicknamed “Ayatollah Mike,” whom Tehran accused of planning to assassinate the commander of the “Quds Force” Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq.
According to “Tasnim”, Afghan sources revealed that “this plane was carrying on board at least 18 American military officials, so that a security man was higher than Ayatollah Mike, among the passengers of this plane, and they are in the current death toll.”
The sources stated that the “E-11A” plane, due to a technical defect, was flying at a low altitude less than usual so that it was targeted and shot down by the “Estrella 1” missile by the Taliban forces, stressing that “this plane was shot down at one o’clock and ten minutes according to local time.” On Monday, 27 January, in the Taliban-controlled “Walswane de Deek” area.
Iranian television had recently announced that “the American officer was aboard the American military plane, which fell, in Ghazni state, central Afghanistan, and the Taliban claimed responsibility for bringing it down,” noting that “Michael Dandria plans to assassinate the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq, supervised the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior military commander of the Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria in 2008. ”
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that “an American military plane crashed in Ghazni province in central Afghanistan,” noting that “the plane was flying for intelligence purposes, and that all those on board were American officers, and they were killed.”
While the US military confirmed, in a statement, the crash – the E11A – but said that “there are no indications that the crash was caused by enemy fire.”
Dandria is 62 years old, and in 2017, he was assigned to head the CIA’s Iran Mission Center, while press reports indicated that he had also taken over Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to being a key figure in the search for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.