Al-Quds Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Special Forces Commander General Kassem Suleimani was killed in a missile strike by US aircraft. The killing order of Suleimani, quoted by the Pentagon, was given by US President Donald Trump.
The missile attacks that killed Suleimani were launched against targets located near Baghdad Airport. Iranian authorities said that together with Suleymani, the deputy commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was killed.
The assassination of Suleymani, the defense said in a statement, was undertaken “to protect American personnel abroad” to prevent “Iran-planned attacks.”
Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei promised that “the criminals involved in the assassination of Suleymani will face severe revenge.”
The Al-Quds Battalion is one of the most combat-ready units of the IRGC, which is actively involved in military conflicts in Syria and Iraq. It is believed that the effectiveness of the special forces was largely determined by the abilities of its commander, General Kassem Suleimani.
In April, it became known about the US decision to include the IRGC, including its Al-Quds special forces, in the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
According to the Pentagon, Suleimani “has been actively working on plans to attack US diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and other countries in the region.” The United States also blamed him for allegedly approving a rally in front of the US embassy in Baghdad this week.
The Pentagon said the strike that killed Suleymani “was aimed at containing future plans for attacks from Iran.”
The US Congress was not notified in advance of a missile strike. As the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives Eliot Engel emphasized, even if the strike was carried out as part of self-defense, the military claims that there was no permission from Congress, which must be notified by the president 48 hours before such a special operation.
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Nancy Pelosi demanded that the US administration immediately inform about further steps that the authorities intend to take. Democratic senator Corey Booker believes Trump has no strategy to aggravate the situation in the Middle East.
In turn, Trump’s decision was supported by Member of the House of Representatives of the US Congress Lee Zeldin (Republican) and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.
Fox News, citing sources in the White House, the State Department and the Armed Forces, reports that the US presidential administration does not exclude any option for further developments.
Former US Vice President Joseph Biden expressed confidence that “Iran will definitely give an answer.”
Head of State Department Michael Pompeo claims that Iraqi residents are happy with the news of the Suleymani assassination.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that “Iran and other countries in the region will take revenge on America.” He emphasized that “the assassination of Suleymani doubles Iran’s determination to oppose the United States and defend Islamic values.”
Iran’s Foreign Ministry called on the US ambassador to Tehran.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called the killing of Suleymani “an act of international terrorism by the United States.” He also stated that the general was “the most effective force fighting the Islamic State , Jebhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda and others.”
Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared a three-day nationwide mourning.