Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds force, who was killed in a U.S. air strike, had months earlier threatened President Donald Trump with destroying everything he owns.
“You know that this war will destroy all that you possess,” Soleimani had declared in a speech in July 2018.
“You will start this war but we will be the ones to impose its end. Therefore you have be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic,” he added at the time according to a report by Iranian state channel Al Alam quoted by Reuters.
An air strike killed Soleimani, leader of Iran’s regional security apparatus, at Baghdad’s international airport on Friday, Jan.3.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force had been labeled by Washington as a terrorist organization.
The U.S. Defense Department said the Iranian general was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”
It also accused Soleimani of condoning the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.
A statement released Thursday by the Pentagon detailed that the attack on Soleimani “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had considered Soleimani as dangerous as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who committed suicide in October after being cornered by the U.S. military in a raid in Syria.
The attack also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq known as the People’s Mobilization Forces.
Hours later President Donald Trump posted a tweet with a U.S. flag.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
The State Department reported in April that Iran is responsible for killing 608 U.S. soldiers during the Iraq War. According to Washington, 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.
Rep. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the president in a statement.
“Congratulations to President Trump for his decisive action and successful outcome. Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and his death presents an opportunity for Iraq to determine its own future free from Iranian control. As I have previously warned the Iranian government, they should not mistake our reasonable restraint in response to their previous attacks as weakness,” Risch said.
“The U.S. will always vigorously defend our interests and allies in the face of terrorist conduct and provocation. On behalf of every American serviceman and servicewoman who has either been killed or injured due an Iranian-provided IED or rocket in Iraq over the years, today justice was done. Soleimani was responsible for the weapons program that caused those casualties and injuries with the use of those treacherous and cowardly devices,” Risch said.