U.S. President Donald Trump commented Friday on the killing of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani, tweeting, “He should have been taken out many years ago!”
Soleimani who for more than two decades was the commander of Iran’s feared Qods (Quds) force was killed by a U.S. drone as he arrived at Baghdad airport and was traveling in a convoy with close aides.
News reports say Trump personally authorized the strike.
Trump added, “General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more...” Trump also accused the general in charge of Iran’s proxy forces in the Middle East of being responsible for the death of hundreds of protesters in Iran.
Pentagon has described the operation as a pre-emptive strike, having had intelligence indicating Iran and its proxies were planning fresh attacks on American targets.
Last week, Iraqi militias controlled by Iran fired rockets at a base housing U.S. troops killing one and wounding others. The U.S. retaliated by bombing five locations belonging to the militia. On December 31, thousands of militiamen and their supporters attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Trump issued a threat to Iran the same day to stop “orchestrating: attacks against U.S. interests.