At the funeral of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, one of the few non-family members to deliver a eulogy was the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh—a reminder that the elite Quds Force, which Suleimani commanded for over two decades, invested much in coordinating terrorist attacks against Israel. And not only against Israel, writes Yehudit Barsky, but against Jews wherever they might be found:
The Quds Force was initially formed . . . to fulfil Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s declared goal of exporting the Iranian Revolution in order to “liberate Jerusalem” [“al-Quds.”] Among the Quds Force’s first recruits were Lebanese and Syrian followers of Khomeini’s ideology, who established Hizballah.
From their earliest days, organizations trained by the Quds Force have targeted Jews and Israelis. Hizballah initially targeted Lebanese Jews in the mid-1980s and went on to carry out suicide-bombing attacks against Israeli military installations and personnel in Lebanon. By the early 1990s, the Quds Force together with Hizballah trained leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in executing suicide bombings, thereby exporting such attacks to Israel.
Since his appointment as commander of the Quds Force in 1998, Suleimani extended the scope of attacks beyond the Middle East and Latin America to Jews and Israelis on a global scale, spanning the United States, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Over the past decade, a series of foiled and attempted attacks were carried out by the Quds Force together with Hizballah targeting Israeli diplomats, including a 2011 plot to bomb the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC.
Failing in their attempts to target Israeli diplomats, the Quds Force and Hizballah turned their sights on Israeli tourists and Jewish communal institutions. In 2012, they carried out the bombing of a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria, killing five Israelis and the Bulgarian driver. During that same year, the Quds Force and Hizballah conducted surveillance in preparation for attacks on Israeli tourists in Cyprus and on a synagogue in Bulgaria. Another plan to attack Israeli interests in Nigeria was foiled in 2013. A year later, a Hizballah operative was arrested in Peru before he was able to carry out his mission to target the Israeli embassy, Israeli tourists, and Jewish communal institutions.