President Trump gave the order on a military attack that killed the evil and powerful Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, among other military officials at Baghdad International Airport early Friday, the Pentagon confirmed.
Soleimani was the military mastermind whom Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had deemed equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Department of Defense released a statement stating that Trump ordered the strike because of the discovery that “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,” the Pentagon continued.
“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.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted after the attack “The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”
He added that the U.S. “bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”
In April 2019, the State Department announced Iran was responsible for killing 608 U.S. troops during the Iraq War.
Soleimani was in charge of the Iranian and Iranian-backed forces carrying out those operations killing American troops. According to the State Department, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.
As recently as 2015, a travel ban and United Nations Security Council resolutions had barred Soleimani from leaving Iran.
Friday’s Baghdad strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
In all, at least seven people were killed and at least three rockets were fired, officials told The Associated Press. An official with the Popular Mobilization Forces said its airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda, also died.
Hours after the attack was announced, President Trump brilliantly tweeted a simple image of the American flag.
Soleimani was the long-running leader of the elite intelligence wing called Quds Force – which itself has been a designated terror group since 2007, and is estimated to be 20,000 strong. Considered one of the most powerful men in Iran, he routinely was referred to as its “shadow commander” or “spymaster.”
“Soleimani is our leader” had been photographed spray-painted on windows by Iran-backed militiamen at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Their deaths prove to the world that the U.S. is no pushover, and should certainly not be toyed with.
An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Muhandis had arrived to the airport in a convoy to receive Soleimani whose plane had arrived from either Lebanon or Syria.
The airstrike occurred as soon as he descended from the plane to be greeted by Muhandis and his companions, killing them all.
A senior politician said Soleimani’s body was identified by the ring he wore.
Following the news, a video of Iraqis dancing in the street celebrating Soleimani’s death was tweeted by Pompeo.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper reacted on Thursday to the U.S. Embassy attack in Iraq earlier this week, saying that it’s time for Iran to start “acting like a normal country.”
“We are there in Iraq working with our Iraqi partners to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Esper said on “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday.
“Through the president’s direction, we were able to physically defeat the caliphate that remains physically defeated, if you will,” he added. “And now, our aim is to deter further Iranian bad behavior that has been going on now for over 40 years. It’s time that Iran started acting like a normal country.”