Updated: March 8, 2021
Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” on Friday for a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed its top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East Major-General Qassem Soleimani.
Iranian state television called President Donald Trump’s order to kill Soleimani “the biggest miscalculation by the U.S.” since World War II. “The people of the region will no longer allow Americans to stay,” it added.
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The U.S. State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees from Iraq Wednesday amid increasing tensions with Iran.
Senior State Department officials defended the move as a “prudent” step amid what they say is an “imminent threat” from Iran.”It is a prudent thing we did this,” one senior State Department official during a briefing with reporters.
The United States late on Thursday confirmed it launched the air strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and another senior Iranian-linked figure in Baghdad.
The Washington Examiner had earlier referred to Qassim Soleimani as Iran’s ‘shadow commander’ killed in apparent US airstrike in Iraq.
“The killing of a senior figure linked to Tehran’s support for foreign proxy groups is certain to heighten tensions between the United States and Iran”, The Washington Post noted.
Defense Sec. Mark Esper said President Donald Trump authorized the air strike.