The United States launched the air strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and another senior Iranian-linked figure in Baghdad, the Pentagon said on Thursday night in Washington, Friday in Iran and Iraq.
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.
Esper said Soleimani was “actively developing plans” to attack US troops and diplomats.
“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,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.
On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was not authorized and Congress was not consulted on the decision, The Hill reported.
“The Administration has conducted tonight’s strikes in Iraq targeting high-level Iranian military officials and killing Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“Further, this action was taken without the consultation of the Congress,” she added.