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U.S. says it killed a top Iranian commander

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on January 3, 2020 - Duration: 01:24s

U.S. says it killed a top Iranian commander

The United States killed Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and spearhead of Iran's spreading military influence in the Middle East, on Friday in an air strike at Baghdad airport, the Pentagon and Iran said.

His death marks a new escalation between the U.S. and Tehran.

Olivia Chan reports.

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U.S. says it killed a top Iranian commander

Ambulances rushed to a Baghdad airport after a U.S. airstrike that the Pentagon says killed a top Iranian commander on Friday (3 January 2020).

Qassem Soleimani was the head of the elite covert Quds force and a key figure within Iran.

His death represents a new escalation in U.S. conflict with Tehran.

The Pentagon says U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the strike and that it was quote 'aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.'

Reports from Baghdad Friday say rockets hit two militia vehicles at the city's international airport.

It's said to have killed a number of people, includia the commander of an Iraqi militia.

Soleimani was instrumental in the spread of Iranian influence in the Middle East and the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

The US and Saudi Arabia had struggled to keep him in check.

He's survived several assassination attempts by western, Israeli and Arab agencies over the past two decades.

His Quds Force had strong ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack came amid tensions between the US and Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Baghdad.

Violent protesters breached the U.S. embassy on New Year's Eve after the an American airstrike last weekend.

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