The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani was killed at Baghdad’s international airport in Iraq, following a directive by President of the United States, Donald Trump.
A U.S airstrike killed Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces on Friday, January 3, 2019.
The U.S Defense Department said Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
Soleimani was also accused of approving the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
On Friday, Gen 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.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, called the move “extremely dangerous and a foolish escalation”.
In a statement on Friday, the Pentagon (White House) said President Trump ordered the air strike that killed powerful Iranian general because he was planning attacks against US diplomats and other targets.
“President Donald Trump ordered a U.S. military airstrike Thursday that killed Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an airstrike near Baghdad’s airport, the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.
“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 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The Pentagon said that Soleimani was “actively developing plans” to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq.
“Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an Iraqi paramilitary group that attempted to storm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Dec. 31, 2019, was also reportedly killed in the drone strike,” the Pentagon said.