President Donald Trump said the US killed Iran’s top military commander Qasem Soleimani “to stop a war, to not start one”.Mr. Trump said Soleimani’s “reign of terror” was “over” following a strike at Iraq’s Baghdad airport on Friday.
Soleimani spearheaded Iran’s Middle East operations as leader of the country’s Quds Force. Iran vowed to require “severe revenge” over his death. The killing marked a serious escalation in tensions between Iran and therefore the US.US officials said 3,000 additional troops would be sent to the center East as a precaution.
Meanwhile, Iraqi state television said there had been another airstrike within the country, 24 hours after the killing of Soleimani. An Iraqi army source told the Reuters press agency that six people were killed within the new strike, which hit a convoy of Iraqi militia within the early hours of Saturday morning civil time.
A US military spokesman denied that the American-led coalition fighting within the region was responsible.”FACT: The Coalition @CJTFOIR didn’t conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji (north of Baghdad) in recent days,” said Colonel Myles Coggins III, during a post on Twitter.
What did President Trump say?
Speaking at a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr. Trump said of Friday’s attack: “The us military executed a flawless precision strike that killed the amount, one terrorist, anywhere within the world, Qassem Soleimani.
He said: “Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel but we caught him within the act and terminated him.”
How did Iran react?
In a statement following Soleimani’s death, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: “His departure to God doesn’t send his path or his mission, but forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and therefore the blood of the opposite martyrs last night on their hands.”
In a letter to the UN Security Council, Iranian ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said that Tehran reserved the proper to self-defense under the law of nations.
How does Iraq fit into this?
Iran supports the spread of Shia militia groups in neighboring Iraq. Soleimani had just received Baghdad airport and was traveling during a convoy alongside officials from such militia when their cars were hit by several US missiles on Friday.
Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed within the strike. He commanded the Kataib Hezbollah group – also backed by Iran – which Washington blamed for a rocket attack that killed a US civilian contractor in northern Iraq last week.
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Iraq is during a difficult position, as an ally both of Iran and of the US. Thousands of folks troops remain within the country to help within the broader struggle against the Islamic State (IS) group. But the Iraqi government insists that the US has acted beyond the terms of this agreement.
Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi labeled the missile strike as a “brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and a blatant attack on the nation’s dignity”.Iraq’s parliament announced that it might hold an emergency meeting on Sunday. The US State Department warned Americans in Iraq to go away “immediately”.
Who was Qasem Soleimani?
The 62-year-old was widely seen because of the second most powerful figure in Iran, behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), reported on to the ayatollah, and Soleimani was hailed as a heroic national figure.
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Under his 21-year leadership of the Quds Force, Iran bolstered Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian militant groups in Lebanon; expanded its military presence in Iraq and Syria; and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups therein country’s long war.