The U.S. Secretary of State highlighted the Iraqi people’s welcome to Qasem Soleimani’s death. He tweeted, “Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more.”
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. pic.twitter.com/huFcae3ap4
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020
In the late hours of January 2, the international media acknowledged that a convoy of cars was attacked by an airstrike nearly Baghdad International Airport. A little later, Iraqi television aired Qasem Soleimani was among the dead. Footages in the social media confirmed the death of Soleimani as well as deputy commander of Iran-backed militias Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Soleimani was the commander of Tehran’s conglomerate of proxies in Iraq and across the Middle East, responsible for killing hundreds of thousands in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc. Observers describe Qasem Soleimani’s death as “targeting the head of the snake” and “far more important than killing bin Laden and Baghdadi.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), described the elimination of Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mehdi Muhandes, the head of Iraq’s suppressive Bassij force, as “an irreparable blow to the clerical regime.”
Mrs. Rajavi said, “Qassem Soleimani was one of the most vicious criminals of Iran’s history. He was personally involved in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in the region and in driving millions of others from their homes. He was also the mastermind of the massacre of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (PMOI/MEK) in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, and of many other terrorist operations against the Iranian Resistance in that country, in Iran, and other countries. With his elimination, the process of overthrowing the mullahs will be greatly expedited.”
Elimination of Qassem #Soleimani and head of Iraq’s suppressive Bassij force is irreparable blow to mullahs’ regime; Time to evict IRGC from the region #Iranhttps://t.co/V9Vl9NjMUT pic.twitter.com/Xpom5xZROl
A senior Iraqi politician told al-Arabiya, “Al-Muhandis had arrived at the airport in a convoy to receive Soleimani whose plane had arrived from either Lebanon or Syria. The airstrike occurred as soon as he descended from the plane to be greeted by al-Muhandis and his companions, killing them all.”
“At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” Pentagon stated on January 2.
“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 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the White House announced on Twitter on January 2.
General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. https://t.co/Me5DMvMgSp
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 3, 2020
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed the death of the commander of the Quds Force Gen. Qasem Soleimani in a statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency on Friday. Khamenei, who sees his long investment on Soleimani lost, announced three days of mourning. He also vowed a harsh response to the U.S. On the other hand, the Iranian regime’s foreign minister Javad Zarif, who styles himself as “moderate,” admitted, “We [Zarif and Soleimani] have been working together directly and up close for more than 20 years.”
Soleimani had been rumored dead several times, including in a 2006 airplane crash that killed other military officials in northwestern Iran and following a 2012 bombing in Damascus that killed top aides of embattled the dictator of Syria Bashar al-Assad. More recently, rumors circulated in November 2015 that Soleimani was killed or seriously wounded while leading forces loyal to Assad as they fought around Syria’s Aleppo.
The attack came amid tensions with the United States after a New Year’s Eve attack by Iran-backed militias on the US Embassy in Baghdad. The two-day embassy attack which ended on Wednesday prompted President Donald Trump to order the deployment of about 750 US soldiers to the Middle East.
The breach at the embassy followed US airstrikes on Sunday that killed at least 50 fighters of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. The US military said the strikes were in retaliation for last week’s killing of an American contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base that the US blamed on the militia.
“The game has changed,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Thursday, telling reporters that violent acts by Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq – including the rocket attack on December 27 that killed one American – will be met with US military force.