Top Iranian Commander Killed in Airstrike at Baghdad’s Int’l Airport in Iraq

According to Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials and an Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, a top commander of Iran’s Quds Force, was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s International Airport.

Associated Press reported:

Iraqi TV and three Iraqi officials said Friday that Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, has been killed in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport.

The officials said the strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Their 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 Middle East against Israel and American interests.

The PMF blamed the United States for an attack at Baghdad International Airport Friday.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. or Iran.

Seven people were reportedly killed on Friday during the airstrike in Baghdad.

It is unclear who fired the missile or rocket but it followed Tuesday and Wednesday’s Iranian-backed proxy groups’ attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad.

On Thursday, the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps threatened the United States.

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Major General Hossein Salami warned the US, “Iran annihilates any aggressor.”

Salami added that Iran is not afraid of any war.

“There are some indications out there that they [Iran and their proxies] may be planning additional attacks,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said at the Pentagon earlier Thursday.

“So do I think they may do something? Yes, and they will likely regret it,” Esper added.

Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said that two of its vehicles in a convoy passing by the airport were struck, in what apparently was a high-precision attack by the US forces.

The umbrella group of Shia militias integrated into the Iraq’s armed forces was blamed for the siege of the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this week.

Muhammad Reza Al-Jabri, director of public relations at the PMF, was reportedly killed in the strike. The two vehicles were captured on video burning on the road leading to the airport.

The incident forced the airport into an immediate shutdown. All inbound and outbound flights at the airport have been cancelled or diverted for the time being.

The airport is located next to the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC), which is used by diplomats and intelligence operatives, as well as the US-led anti-terrorist coalition forces in Iraq. The area is also home to the joint counter-terrorism center.

The strikes come amid soaring tensions between Tehran and Washington over recent events in Iraq. A US air raid on an Iraqi Shia militia last weekend triggered a heated demonstration at the US embassy complex in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Tuesday. Protesters smashed windows, set fires and chanted anti-American slogans. Washington insisted the raid was in retaliation for a militia rocket attack on a US base in Kirkuk, and that Iran provided backing for the assault, though offering no evidence for the claim.

 

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