Trump Ordered Strike That Killed Iran Military Leader Soleimani
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
The head of Iran’s Quds force, General Qassem Soleimani, and six others have been killed in what was a U.S. air strike at Baghdad International Airport.
Iranian Leader Killed
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a militia backed by Iran, was also killed in Thursday’s strike.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” a PMF spokesperson said.
Trump Ordered The Strike
The Pentagon took credit for the attack and said it was done at the order of President Donald Trump.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” it said in a statement, Reuters reported.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” it said.
“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.”
Earlier in the day Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper warned Iran that the U.S. would launch a preemptive strike if it believed Iranian backed forces were planning to attack U.S interests.
“If we get word of attacks, we will take pre-emptive action as well to protect American forces, protect American lives,” he said. “The game has changed.”
“This is devastating for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the regime and Khamenei’s regional ambitions,” Foundation for Defense of Democracies chief executive Mark Dubowitz said to The New York Times.
“For 23 years, he has been the equivalent of the J.S.O.C. commander, the C.I.A. director and Iran’s real foreign minister,” he said, calling him “irreplaceable and indispensable.”
The strike follows an attack on an Iraqi military base that killed a U.S. contractor, which was followed by a strike on an Iranian backed militia in Iraq and protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad where demonstrators set fires.
A potential war with Iran is increasingly closer, Middle East scholar and John Hopkins professor Vali Nasr said.
“The pressure to retaliate will be immense,” he said. “Soleimani had cult hero status within IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) and among Shia militias in the region and was personally the most popular regime figure in Iran,’ said Nasr.”