Unic Press UK: Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who commands the Iran’s elite military unit known as the Quds Force, has been killed by U.S. forces in Iraq.
The 62-year-old Qasem Soleimani and several others, including the deputy chief of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were killed as missiles struck their convoy of two cars near Baghdad International Airport.
In a statement Thursday, the U.S. Department of Defense said:
“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. 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. 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. 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.”
Writing on Twitter, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced U.S. killing of Soleimani. He said:
“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.”
With heightened tensions in the region, the U.S. government has advised American citizens to leave Iraq immediately. A statement Friday by the the U.S. Embassy in Iraq read:
“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately. U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land. Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice. U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.”