BAGHDAD (MWV News) - The Iraqi government has reacted angrily to the US airstrike on Baghdad International airport which killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Soleimani, a 62-year-old general was known to be close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
American President Donald Trump gave the order for the late night strike without informing the Iraqi government and in breach of Iraqi sovereignty. The Islamic Republic of Iran promised “harsh” punishment for the strike.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the strike disrupted an “imminent attack” on Americans who are stationed by invitation of the Iraq government
in the Middle East. Pompeo, in interviews on Fox News and CNN, provided no proof of the alleged threat but said it was “an intelligence based assessment” that drove the decision to target Soleimani.
In a tweet, Trump said Soleimani had “killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more”, but did not elaborate. The attack also killed top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani.
It followed a sharp increase in long running U.S. hostility against Iran. Last week Iraqi militiamen, some pro-Iran, attacked the U.S. embassy in Iraq in response to a U.S. air raid on the Kataib Hezbollah militia, founded by Muhandis. Iraq’s prime minister said that with Friday’s attack Washington had violated a deal for keeping U.S. troops in his country.