Qasem Soleimani, 62, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, responsible for terrorist operations around the Middle East, was killed late Thursday in an American airstrike at Iraq’s Baghdad Airport, the Pentagon reported.
The Pentagon statement said that “at the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani. This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
A report from Iraq said that three rockets hit the air cargo terminal at Baghdad International Airport, burning two vehicles and killing five members of the Iraqi militias and two guests.
President Trump, for his part, tweeted an image of the American flag.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
An enraged spokesman for the Iraqi based Iranian Shiite militias, Ahmed al-Assadi, issued a statement saying: “The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani.”
The IRGC confirmed the reports of the “Qasem Soleimani martyrdom” stating: “Commander of IRGC Quds Brigade, General Qasem Soleimani was martyred in US airstrike in Baghdad. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was martyred in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport Friday, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) confirmed. The strike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) and some of other forces of the PMU along with their guests.”
Fars said “the attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.”
Soleimani began his military career in the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s. He was later involved in extraterritorial terror operations, providing military assistance to anti-Saddam Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq, and later Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Israel’s liberated territories. In 2012, Soleimani helped the Syrian government in the Syrian Civil War. He also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that were aimed to fortify Iran’s hegemony over Iraq.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the assassination, tweeting: “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani is extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation.”
Zarif described Soleimani as “the most effective force fighting” the Islamic State, Al Nusra and Al Qaeda terror groups and warned that “the US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
So, one less major war criminal out there, more peace for us. Advantage Trump.