A U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad today, the Pentagon said, a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two countries that could lead to widespread violence in the region and beyond.
US President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike at Baghdad International Airport that killed Qasem Soleimani, in a "decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad" that was intended to deter "future Iranian attack plans," the Pentagon confirmed Thursday.
Gen. Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in a statement.
Just after the news regarding killing of the Iranian General broke, US President Donald Trump tweeted a photo of the American flag.
Iran’s terrifying response to the airstrike that killed the top general
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, in a US air strike at Baghdad international airport as an "act of international terrorism."
"The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism," Zairf said in a statement on Friday, warning that the move would strengthen resistance against the US and Israel in the region and the world, Iranian state television reported.
The brutality and stupidity of American terrorist forces in assassinating Commander Soleimani ... will undoubtedly make the tree of resistance in the region and the world more prosperous.
Added Javad Zarif.
General Qassem Soleimani: The Head of Iran’s Elite Quds Force
Hassan Nasrallah, head of Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, mourns Iran’s Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani as a “master of resistance” after he is killed in a US airstrike in Iraq.
“To continue on General Soleimani’s path, we’ll raise his flag in all battlefields,” the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar website quotes Nasrallah as saying.
“Revenge for martyred fighters is a responsibility and an act of resistance,” he adds. Nasrallah also said that the United States would not be able to achieve its goals with this “big crime” and just punishment was the responsibility of all fighters.
The attack, which Esper said was authorized by President Trump, raises fresh questions about the president’s approach to the Middle East. While Trump has employed bellicose rhetoric and authorized several strikes against the Syrian government, an ally of Tehran, he has repeatedly voiced his desire to get the United States out of costly wars in the region.