Irans Soleimani reportedly killed in Baghdad airstrike: report – Business Insider

  • Iran’s elite Quds force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an airstrike in Iraq on Thursday afternoon, according to the US military.
  • “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
  • “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the statement said, adding that “this strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Iran’s elite Quds force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an airstrike in Iraq on Thursday afternoon, according to the US military.

“At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force,” the Defense Department said in a statement.

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the statement said, adding that “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,” the Pentagon added.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Shiite Iran-backed militia responsible for the assault on the US embassy in Iraq earlier this week, was also killed in the airstrike, according to Iraqi state media. A senior Pentagon official told Newsweek that Muhandis and Soleimani were killed, and that DNA results were pending.

us embassy iraq protest

Protesters burn property in front of the US embassy compound, in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2019.
Associated Press/Khalid Mohammed


“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, the Iran-backed umbrella paramilitary group, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

PMF sympathizers orchestrated the protests at the US embassy on New Years Eve, prompting the US to send in military reinforcements to secure the site. The attacks followed a rocket barrage on December 27, which killed one American contractor. The US responded to the attack with an airstrike that reportedly killed 25 militants.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday warned in a statement that the US “will not accept continued attacks against our personnel and forces in the region.”

“Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner, and place of our choosing,” Esper said. “We urge the Iranian regime to end their malign activities.”

Soleimani is designated by the US as a terrorist for his ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The elite Quds force, a branch of the IRGC, provided lethal aid to the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassem Soleimani stands at the frontline during offensive operations against Islamic State militants in the town of Tal Ksaiba in Salahuddin province, March 8, 2015.
Reuters


Who was Soleimani?

Qassem Soleimani commands the Quds force, a division of the IRGC trained in unconventional warfare beyond Iran’s borders, including Syria and Iraq. His influence in the region has been met with consternation by US officials, who widely allege that his actions further destabilized the region.

Soleimani commanded the Quds force for over 20 years and has since provided military aid to militant groups designated as terrorist organizations, such as Hezhollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. In 2007, the US designated Soleimani as a terrorist and imposed sanctions against him, pointing towards the roughly $100-$200 million that was provided to Hezbollah, and the military weapons that were provided to the Taliban.

“In addition, the [Quds] Force provides lethal support in the form of weapons, training, funding, and guidance to select groups of Iraqi Shi’a militants who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi forces and innocent Iraqi civilians,” the US Treasury said in a statement in 2007.

Soleimani was also sanctioned in 2011, when the US discovered he was involved in a plot to kill a Saudi ambassador in Washington. Despite the sanctions and travel bans, Soleimani traveled throughout the world, including Russia, and met with senior officials. 

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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