According to Daily Mail UK, President Donald Trump has ordered an airstrike that killed Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, the powerful head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at Baghdad International Airport, the Pentagon confirmed.
The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, which were responsible for the recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, officials said.
Tehran has vowed ‘crushing’ vengeance for Soleimani’s death, an extremely popular figure at home, the country’s highest ranking general and responsible for shaping Iranian foreign policy throughout the Middle East.
A Pentagon statement issued to DailyMail.com late Thursday, Washington DC time, said: ‘At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Quasem Soleimani.’
Soon after news of the strike spread, Trump, who is currently at Mar-a-Lago, tweeted an image of an American flag, offering no further remarks or explanation.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed: ‘All friends – & enemies – know that Jihad of Resistance will continue with more motivation & definite victory awaits the fighters on this blessed path. The loss of our dear General is bitter. The continuing fight & ultimate victory will be more bitter for the murderers & criminals.’
Meanwhile the Iraqi prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi warned the rocket strike would ‘spark a devastating war in Iraq,’ adding that the assault by the US was ‘a brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and blatant attack on the nation’s dignity.’
It comes as Iraqi Shia militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr had ordered the reformation of the Mahdi Army which fought against US troops during the invasion in 2003. Sadr had disbanded the group in 2008.
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