Iran's top commander Qasem Soleimani killed in United States strike
Qasem Soleimani, the top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, was killed in an operation carried out by the United States, Pentagon confirmed on Friday. The strike took place at Baghdad Airport and the deputy chief of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi force was also eliminated. Pentagon said President Donald Trump green-lit the killing of Soleimani. Here are more details.
Who was Soleimani?
One of the most popular figures of Iran and an adversary of the US, Soleimani enjoyed immense clout since 2018 after it was known that he played a major role in government formation in his country. Forever relegating himself to shadows, he got famous in 2013 after he became the face of Iran's intervention in Syria.
Soleimani supported terrorism, imported Iran's Islamic revolution
Soleimani may have enjoyed a celebrity-esque status in Iran, complete with a large fan following on social media, but the US had an entirely different opinion. He was held responsible for exporting Iran's Islamic revolution and supporting terrorism. His ties with terror groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas also brought him in bad books of the States and its allies.
This week, Iran-backed forces attacked US Embassy in Baghdad
The mega operation comes after the US embassy in Baghdad was attacked by Iran-backed terror groups on New Year's Eve. The US said Soleimani orchestrated the attack. After the attack, Trump deployed 750 US soldiers to the Middle East. Earlier, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had hinted that the US may take "preemptive action" to protect Americans. "The game has changed," Esper told reporters.
Reportedly, three rockets hit the airport
Delivering a strong statement that it has had enough of Iran-sponsored attacks, the US launched strikes at Baghdad Airport. The airport was hit by three rockets and five members of Iraqi paramilitary groups, as well as two "guests" were killed, the paramilitary force said today. The rockets landed near cargo terminal, burning two vehicles, and injuring some people, the force added.
Defense Department reminded that Soleimani killed hundreds of Americans
Confirming the death of the 62-year-old, Department of Defense said, "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." "At the direction of the president, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani," Pentagon said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted his nation's flag without any caption
Subsequently, Iran slammed US, called it foolish escalation
The latest turn of events will surely affect the already poor ties between the US and Iran. The country's foreign minister Javad Zarif called the operation an act of international terrorism. "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 tweeted.