News Desk: Iran’s most powerful military commander and head of Iran’s elite Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani (62) has been killed by a US air strike in Iraq’s.
He was killed at Baghdad airport, alongside local Iran-backed militias, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Under Soleimani’s leadership, Iran had bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian militant groups, expanded Iran’s military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups in the country’s long civil war.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “severe revenge awaits the criminals” behind the attack. He also announced three days of national mourning.
Gen Soleimani was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. His Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the ayatollah and he was hailed as a heroic national figure.
But the US has called the commander and the Quds Force terrorists and holds them responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US personnel.
A statement from the Pentagon – the headquarters of the US Department of Defense – said Gen Soleimani had been “developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region”.