President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's secretive Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Deputy Head of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces. The two men were in a convoy heading to the Baghdad airport when their vehicles were blown up. There are reports that at least four other people were killed in the strike.
"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans," the Defense Department said in its statement. "The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the attack and promised, "Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime."
"The flag of General Soleimani in defense of the country's territorial integrity and the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region will be raised, and the path of resistance to US excesses will continue. The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime."
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the airstrikes disrupted an "imminent attack" that Soleimani was planning against Americans.
“The world is a much safer place today. And I can assure you that Americans in the region are much safer today after the demise of Qasem Soleimani," he said.
President Trump said that Soleimani was "directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people" and "should have been taken out many years ago."
"General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more...but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number....
....of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!:"
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