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.
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.
“(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.
“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.”
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.