IRAQ/IRAN/USA – U.S. military claims responsibility for deadly airstrike on Iran’s Quds leader

Washington Times | Dave Boyer and Guy Taylor | Jan. 2, 2020

The U.S. military claimed responsibility Thursday night for an airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian military’s elite Quds force, at Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.

“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 Pentagon said in a statement, asserting that Gen. Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

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

The U.S. claimed responsibility after Iraqi news outlets reported that Gen. Soleimani, as well as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, had both been killed in the airstrike in Baghdad.