Pentagon released a statement that US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, who died in Baghdad “in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad.”
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more,” the Department of Defence said.
After Soleimani’s death was confirmed, Trump tweeted an image American flag on his account without writing any caption along with it.
This strike which occurred at Baghdad’s International Airport in Iraq also claimed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.
A pro-Iran mob last week gathered around the U.S. embassy following deadly American air strikes on a hardline Hashed faction.
The U.S. had called out the strikes in response to a rocket attack some days earlier that had claimed life of an American contractor working in Iraq.
The Baghdad airport was then hit in a volley of missiles just after midnight Friday, Iraq’s military had announced. This attack on the airport killed eight people including some important figures of Iran.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon said.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” it added.
The Pentagon said that Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past months, including on December 27, the day the U.S. contractor was killed.
“General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” it said.