Trump Ordered Airstrike That Killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, Pentagon Says
Soleimani had directed the attack on the embassy, according to the Pentagon
President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military airstrike that killed the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the Pentagon said in a statement.
According to the statement:
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization."
The Pentagon added that Soleimani was “actively developing plans” to attack American service members and diplomats in Iraq.
The leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi paramilitary group that attempted to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31, 2019, was also killed in the drone strike.
Soleimani had directed the attack on the embassy, according to the Pentagon.
The Iraqi state television was one of the first media outlets to announce that Soleimani and al-Muhandis had been killed in the strike.
A PMF spokesman said the drone strikes were from American and Israeli forces.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for PMF, according to Reuters.
But Soleimani’s death is set to increase tensions in the Middle East.
Soleimani’s Quds Force has long given support to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East, including Hezbelloh, Hamas, and radical militias.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that the U.S. military would carry out preemptive strikes if needed against Kata’ib Hezbollah, which he said was preparing additional operations against U.S. forces in Iraq.
Last November, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned the United States, Israel, and the U.K the country will wipe them out if they cross Tehran’s red lines.
In an address to a pro-government rally, Gen. Hossein Salami said "solid slaps” will be forthcoming for any country that challenges the Islamic Republic.