BAGHDAD (AP) - The United States has killed Gen, Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport, an attack that threatens to dramatically ratchet up tensions in the region.
FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, file photo, Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Quds Force, attends an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran. Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, that Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)
The targeted killing, at the direction of President Donald Trump, could draw forceful Iranian retaliation against American interests in the region and spiral into a far larger conflict.
The Defense Department says it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region."
An adviser to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is warning President Trump of retaliation.
The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, Iraqi officials said.
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