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Trump Orders Execution Of Iran’s Top Army General Co-ordinating Military Action In Iraq

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Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated on Friday, January 3, 2020 after a US air raid killed Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces, or PMF.

The Pentagon confirmed the attack at Baghdad’s international airport, saying it came “at the direction of the president”.

Soleimani and al-Muhandis’s deaths are a potential turning point in the Middle East and are expected to draw severe retaliation from Iran and the forces it backs in the region against Israel and US interests.

US President Donald Trump has said that he ordered a precision strike to “terminate” a top Iranian commander who was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” on Americans, adding that the decision was one of deterrence rather than aggression.

“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” Trump said in a statement from his Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday, a day after a US drone strike on a Baghdad airport killed Qasem Soleimani.

Later, while at a Miami church for an Evangelicals for Trump event, the President said: “He was planning a very major attack and we got him.”

Iran, in a letter to the United Nations, called the attack state terrorism and an unlawful criminal act.

Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, told CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” that the attack was “tantamount to opening a war.” There will be revenge, he said.

“The response for a military action is a military action. By whom? When? Where? That is for the future to witness,” he said.

He said Washington has escalated a war it began when it pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

“The US has started the economic war in — in May 2018. Last night, they started a military war. By assassinating, by an act of terror, against one of our top generals,” he told CNN.

The move marks a major escalation in regional tensions that have pitted Tehran against Washington and its allies in the Middle East, raising the specter of further regional destabilization. The strike, condemned by Iran and its allies as an “assassination,” has been met with concern by European officials and the United Nations, who have called for de-escalation.

The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed the strike killed Soleimani, who as head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force became the architect of Tehran’s proxy conflicts in the Middle East.

Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis — the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) — was also killed, according to a statement from the PMF, which said the pair “were martyred by an American strike.”

Hattip to Aljazeera, CNN

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