The killing of Qasem Soleimani, one of the most powerful men in Iran, is a dramatic escalation of an already dangerous situation in the Middle East, threatening to trigger violence from the Gulf to the shores of the Mediterranean.
The Pentagon announced the US had carried out the attack near Baghdad airport, describing it as “decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad.”
According to BBC News, the Pentagon asserted that “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” It said Soleimani “had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several
The targeted US strike also killed one of the most prominent leaders of the Iraqi Shia militia, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Al-Muhandis was the leader of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group that Washington blames for a recent surge in rocket attacks against US forces in Iraq.