US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Iran Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani, who died in a US-led strike at Baghdad International Airport on Friday, the White House said.
“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” The White House said in an official statement.
“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. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” the statement reads.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” it said.
Following Soleimani’s death, President Trump took to his official Twitter handle and posted an image of the US flag without any explanation.
General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport earlier in the day. The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi military force.
The Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) blamed the United States for an attack at Baghdad Airport.