US air strike kills top Iranian general

Teddy Fronczak

Top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in the early morning of Jan. 3 in Baghdad, Iraq, by a drone strike that was ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump. The assassination of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp general has escalated tensions between the U.S. and Iran. As a result of the attack, Iranian forces retaliated with missile strikes on both U.S. and coalition forces.

Trump, when questioned about his to his ordered attack on Iran, stated, “Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you.”

Previous administrations have opted against killing Soleimani, citing concerns that it would endanger both American military and civilian lives by creating turmoil in the region.

Many believe the Trump administration’s decision to assassinate Soleimani is a result of the Iraqi militia group, Kataib Hezbollah, and their attack on the U.S. K1 military base on Dec. 29. The strike resulted in the death of an American contractor, as well as wounding multiple American and Iraqi personnel. Kataib Hezbollah has publicly denied responsibility for the attack. This initial strike was followed by Iraqi supporters of Kataib Hezbollah storming the U.S. embassy in Baghdad only two days later. Militia members attempted to enter the embassy, starting fires and causing external damage to the embassy.

Initial reports that Soleimani had been killed by the U.S. were released Jan. 3 and were followed by leading figures in Iran vowing revenge.

Trump’s initial responses to Soleimani’s death were by tweet, where he stated, “…Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!”

Immediately following Soleimani’s death, the U.S. deployed 3,500 additional soldiers to the Middle East, though it was stated by government officials that this was not a direct response to the assassination, rather a continuation of an earlier announcement that week to send more troops to the region.

U.S. conflict with Iran shows no sign of stopping as Trump vowed to take further action against Iran through sanctions as an act of repercussion, stating, “As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.”