Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces was also killed AP reported.
Six others following a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. Iraqi officials and the state television reported that aside from Soleimani, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack.
The US Department of Defense published a statement following the attack.
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 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the statement said.
The statement further added 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.
Javad Zarif, the Foreign Minister of Iran said in a tweet that 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.
The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism, Zarif said.
Born in Iran, Soleimani rose through the ranks of the Iranian military and eventually joined the covert Quds Force which has grown in significant power in the Middle East in the past decades.