Tehran claims 'Ayatollah Mike', the man behind Qasem Soleimani's death is dead

Micheal D'Andrea is known under several names including the 'Dark Prince' and 'Ayatollah Mike'

Unconfirmed reports about the Central Intelligence Agency head of US intelligence operations against Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan have emerged since the US Aircraft crashed in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The aircraft crashed yesterday, and the Taliban has set claims of shooting down the craft.

Micheal D'Andrea or 'Ayatollah Mike' was said to be flying in the aircraft which was downed by the Taliban militants. The Russian Intelligence is said to have confirmed the death of the person behind the death of Qasem Soleimani. The US has not confirmed the claims by Tehran yet.

Several tweets emerged following the death which claimed that the incident did happen. But, some claim that these are speculations made by Tehran.

Who is 'Mike Ayatollah'?

D'Andrea is known by several names and is even immortalized in the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which is about the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. Nicknamed as the 'Dark Prince', D'Andrea is said to have worked on various missions.

He was linked to the death of Osama bin Laden and now with the death of Qaseem Soleimani. Never in the spotlight, there are multiple speculations about him. In 2017, he was appointed as the head of operations in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The Dark prince joined the CIA in 1979, which is for more than two decades. He said to have the ability to run a program effectively and hence was chosen to work on Iran, a country that doesn't even have a US embassy.

The crash in Afghanistan

The continuous claims about the crash and the death of D'Andrea have been surfacing since the crash. There has been no proper confirmation from the CIA or any other official platform from the US.

Iran backed-Taliban claims that they shot down a flight which belonged to the CIA and had US Air Force and Air Combat Command logos, but hasn't provided any evidence. The US denied these claims made by the militant group in Afghanistan.

There have been conflicting claims on the number of deaths from the crash. The Taliban claimed that there were 6 people dead and Afghanistan claimed that there were 4 dead and two were missing. A US official said that there were fewer than five people in the flight.

Tehran did not provide any evidence for D'Andrea's death. Iranian state media outlet Mizan, the Iranian mouthpiece on Judiciary claimed that the CIA agent was dead, but failed to give more information. The Veterans Today said that the flight that was shot down, E-11A aircraft, mobile CIA command for D'Andrea.

This article was first published on January 28, 2020