The US military killed Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and spearhead of Iran’s spreading military influence in the Middle East, on Friday in an airstrike at Baghdad airport. The strike comes days after U.S. Preisdent Donald Trump threatened Tehran after Iraqi supporters of pro-Iranian regime factions laid siege to the US embassy in Baghdad, following deadly American air strikes on a hardline Hashed faction.
Who was General Qasem Soleimani ?
Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus. Soleimani, 62, was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. His Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the ayatollah and he was hailed as a heroic national figure.
How General Qasem Soleimani was killed?
Soleimani and officials from Iran-backed militias were leaving Baghdad airport in two cars when they were hit by a US drone strike near a cargo area.
He had reportedly flown in from Lebanon or Syria. Several missiles struck the convoy and at least six people are believed to have died, according to media reports from Baghdad.
He was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force and some local Iran-backed militias.
The Pentagon confirmed the death of Soleimani in the air strike, saying the military action was carried out at the direction of President Trump. The White House tweeted-
Following Soleimani’s killing, Trump tweeted-
Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
The Pentagon alleged that the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.
General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. https://t.co/Me5DMvMgSp
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 3, 2020
“The US will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” it said.