Who was Qasem Soleimani
Baghdad, Jan 03: General Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force unit, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were killed in a strike at the Baghdad airport today.
The Pentagon confirmed the killing and said it was done on the direction of the President.
What was Qasem Soleimani:
Soleimani has led Iran's Quds Force since 1988. The Quds Force is an elite unit in Iran's Revolutionary Guards and is responsible for clandestine operations abroad.
Soleimani played a crucial role in bolstering the Syrian government's fight in the civil war and also in fighting the Islamic State.
He first came to prominence in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War. His Quds Force reported directly to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was a hugely significant figure in the Iranian regime.
"At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani," a statement by the Pentagon read.
The strike was aimed at deterring further Iranian attack plans. The US will continue to take all necessary action to protect the people and its interests wherever they are in the world, the statement further said.
US defence secretary Mark Esper said that the US would not accept attacks against its personnel in the region. He blamed Iran for the violence at the embassy. Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner, and place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end their malign activities," a statement read.