At least three airstrikes struck Baghdad International Airport in Iraq late Thursday and killed a top Iranian general and a top Iran-backed Iraqi militia leader.
Commander of The Quds Force – an elite unit in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – Gen. Qassim Soleimani was killed in the strike, along with deputy commander of the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) Iraqi militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and PMF official Mohammed Reda, the Associated Press reported.
Rockets Strike #Iraq‘s #BaghdadAirport, #USMilitary Choppers Spotted in Airspace. Three rockets landed on the edge of #Baghdad International Airport , causing explosions but no deaths or injuries, according to local reporters.#IraqiProtests pic.twitter.com/fdEFmkTxpq
— Ehab Al Obaidy (@Ehab8Alobaidy) January 2, 2020
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the statement added. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”