“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
According to the statement, Soleimani was developing plans to stage attacks on US diplomats and servicemen in Iraq and the Middle East.
“He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months - including the attack on December 27th - culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” the Pentagon stressed
“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” the statement added.
The situation in Iraq escalated on Tuesday when Shia protesters attempted to storm the gates of the US Embassy in Baghdad following airstrikes on an Iran-backed unit of Kataib Hezbollah operating in the country. The strikes were carried out in response to an attack at a Kirkuk base that killed a US contractor.