US President Donald Trump on Friday, calling Qasem Soleimani the world’s “number-one terrorist” said that Iran's top commander was involved in terrorist plots planned across the world from New Delhi to London. He said he ordered the airstrikes at the Baghdad International Airport to “stop a war” and not to start one.
The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC) Qasem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike by the United States military outside the Baghdad airport on Thursday. An official statement by the US department of defense said, “At the direction of the President, the US military has taken decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleiman.” They also added that IRGC-QF was a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Trump said Soleimani was “plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel”. However, he did not provide any evidence to support his argument. As per one senior official, Soleimani's presence in Baghdad was proof enough. While addressing reporters the official said, “He’s not there on vacation.”
In an attempt to lower tensions, the US President further said, “We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war", even as thousands of additional US troops were sent to Iran.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London,” Trump said.
Trump was referencing to the 2012 bombing of a car in New Delhi that was carrying the wife of an Israeli diplomat. Several people were injured, but the bombing did not result in any deaths.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo shared a short 22-second clip on Twitter and said that Iranians are celebrating the death of the top commander Soleimani by "dancing in streets".
Iraqis — Iraqis — dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more. pic.twitter.com/huFcae3ap4— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2020