Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, reportedly eliminated in air strike at the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq.
Elad Benari, 03/01/20 00:50
Qassem Soleimani head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was eliminated in a US drone strike near the Baghdad International Airport in Iraq overnight Thursday, a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek.
Mohammed Redha al-Jabri, head of protocol of Iraq’s state-sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces and the deputy head of the organization, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were also eliminated in the attack, the official said.
The senior official added the Pentagon was awaiting DNA results that had a “high probability” of identifying the two men as the targets.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces.
Earlier it was reported that four rockets hit a military base near the airport in the Iraqi capital.
The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen network, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, reported that the attack was carried out by US helicopters and that Muhammad Raza al-Jabari, a senior official in the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, was killed in the attack.
Iraqi paramilitary groups quoted by the Reuters news agency said that five of their members and two “guests” were killed in an air strike on their vehicles inside the airport.
The militia members were hosting “important guests” at Baghdad airport who were being driven in two militia vehicles that were struck by two rockets, said the militia sources.
Iraqi media reported that sirens were activated in the airport, which was shut down following the incident. It is also reported that the rockets hit the back of the base.
The incident comes amid the tensions between the United States and Iran in recent days.
On Sunday, the US launched air strikes against the Kataib Hezbollah militia in Iraq at the beginning of the week. The strikes were in response to the killing of a US civilian contractor in a Friday rocket attack on an Iraqi military base.
On Tuesday, Iraqi militants laid siege to the US Embassy in Baghdad, setting fires and smashing security cameras before forcing their way into the compound.
US President Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the violent protest. Iran rejected the allegations.
Following the attack on the embassy, the Pentagon announced that around 750 more troops would be sent to the Middle East immediately.
While Trump threatened that Iran would pay a “big price” for the embassy attack, he later said he didn’t believe a war with Iran was on the horizon.