The US forces have killed General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force in Iraq. Soon after General Soleimani’s death, the Pentagon said that the general’s assassination was approved by US President Donald Trump.
A statement by Pentagon read, “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani.”
It added, “This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”
General Soleimani was travelling in a convoy of two cars outside Baghdad airport when he was hit by a US airstrike. Also travelling with him were local Iran-backed militias. He was believed to have arrived from either Lebanon or Syria. His car was reportedly hit by several missiles, killing at least eight people.
According to the BBC, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was among those killed.
Soon after the news of General Soleimani’s death came in, Trump tweeted a photo of the US flag.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
The death of General Soleimani comes days after the US embassy in Baghdad was attacked by protesters. The US has held General Soleimani responsible for the attack on its embassy.
Meanwhile, Iran has warned the US of dire consequences. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, tweeted, “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
Experts say that the killing of General Soleimani is bound to result in retaliation from Iran and will set an already volatile region on an even more dangerous course.