From CBS News:
Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military Force, was killed Thursday night in an airstrike in Baghdad. The U.S. Defense Department said late Thursday that the “decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel” was ordered by President Trump.
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Defense Department said. Mr. Trump tweeted a photo of an American flag late Thursday.
The missile attack comes hours after Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. military will be ready if Iran and its allies plan new attacks, like the one this week at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The U.S. Defense Department blamed Soleimani and the Quds Force for the embassy attack, as well as the attack on December 27 that killed an American defense contractor.
The Pentagon issued this statement:
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.
Trump took to Twitter to share a pixelated image of the American flag:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
NBC News reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on the Trump administration to immediately brief lawmakers on the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraq and what the White House plans to do next.
“Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence. America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return,” Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday. Pelosi added that the strike was carried out without an “authorization for use of military force” against Iran and without the consultation of Congress.
Past tweets from Trump immediately went viral recalling the Donald’s claims that President Obama would begin a war with Iran in order to secure his re-election.
All of this comes, of course, amid Trump being impeached over his dealing with the president of Ukraine regarding a phony investigation about his presumed political opponent in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
In order to get elected, @BarackObama will start a war with Iran.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2011
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected–be careful Republicans!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2012
I predict that President Obama will at some point attack Iran in order to save face!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2013