Israeli air-defenses operational, IDF on alert and Mt. Hermon ski resort temporarily closed after Iran’s Quds Force commander Soleimani neutralized in an US precision airstrike, minutes after arriving in Iraq to coordinate further actions against the United States.
By i24NEWS – AFP
Top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed Friday in a US strike on Baghdad’s international airport, Iran and the US confirmed, in a dramatic escalation of tensions between the two countries.
The Pentagon said US President Donald Trump ordered Soleimani’s “killing,” after a pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy.
#FOOTAGE: Security cameras capture moment of U.S. strike that killed #QasimSoleimani aired on Iraqi TV. Israel reportedly warning Palestinian factions in #Gaza not to engage in a retaliatory attack that would target Israel. @i24NEWS_EN pic.twitter.com/KOiDedspRN
— Daniel Tsemach (@DanielTsemach) January 3, 2020
Following Soleimani’s death, Trump tweeted an image of the US flag without any further explanation.
The pre-dawn developments mark the most major escalation yet in a feared proxy war between Iran and the US on Iraqi soil.
Early Friday, a volley of missiles hit Baghdad’s international airport, striking a convoy belonging to the Hashed al-Shaabi, an Iraqi paramilitary force with close ties to Iran.
Just a few hours later, Iranian state television carried a statement by the Revolutionary Guard Corps saying Soleimani “was martyred in an attack by America on Baghdad airport this morning.”
The Hashed confirmed that both Soleimani and its deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in what it said was a “US strike.”
“The deputy head of the Hashed, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and head of the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, were killed in a US strike that targeted their car on the Baghdad International Airport road,” it said.
The Hashed is a network of mostly-Shiite armed units, many of whom have close ties to Tehran but which have been officially incorporated into Iraq’s state security forces.
The units joined forces to fight the Islamic State group in 2014, after many of them built up years of fighting experience during Iraq’s war years, including against the US.
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