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U.S. military personnel killed Iran’s top military general and the country’s second most powerful leader, Qasem Soleimani, in a targeted strike Thursday.

The Associated Press reports that Gen. Soleimani was killed “in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.”

The assault against the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force may draw a retaliatory response from the nation and could potentially put the region into much deeper conflict.

The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the assault in a statement released late Thursday.

sayyed shahab-o- din vajedi/Wiki The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Thursday, January 2, 2020 that they led a targeted strike that killed Iran’s top military general, Qasem Soleimani, in Baghdad, Iraq. There were at least five other officials killed in the same attack.

The statement read:

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” 

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, accused the U.S. of a targeted assassination on Twitter.

Zarif said:

“(It) is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.”

President Donald Trump tweeted a picture of the American flag while, according to AP, he was at one of his Palm Beach, Florida properties around 6:30 p.m.

AP reports:

“The airport strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, and five others, including the PMF’s airport protocol officer, Mohammed Reda, Iraqi officials said.”

Par Khamenei.ir/Wikime Iranian Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei honors the country’s top military general Qasim Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. attack Thursday, January 2, 2020 in Baghdad, Iraq.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D – Conn], among others, tweeted condemnations at Trump while South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham sent messages supporting Trump’s acts.

The strike will likely have ripple effects throughout the region already destabilized by decades of war and conflict.

This story will be updated as it progresses.

Aaron Levy-Wolins

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