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US airstrike kills Iran’s powerful Quds Forces leader

US airstrike kills Iran’s powerful Quds Forces leader

by REBECCA KHEEL AND TAL AXELROD -  |  Published on January 3, 2020

One of Iran’s most powerful generals was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday, a development that is sure to send shockwaves throughout the Middle East and prompt retaliation from Iran.

“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” the Pentagon added. “The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

Soleimani was killed in a strike at Baghdad International Airport alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed Iraqi militia the Popular Mobilization Forces, Iraqi state TV first reported Thursday.

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