U.S. military forces have reportedly killed two top Iranian military commanders involved in terrorism on Thursday night in Iraq in an airstrike in what analysts said was a significantly bigger deal than the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Iranian Major-General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were the two Iranian military leaders who were killed. Al-Muhandis was in charge of the Iranian-linked Popular Mobilization Forces.
BBC reporter Ali Hashem reported: “My sources suggesting that commander of IRGC Quds force Qassem Suleimani and Deputy chief of PMU Abu Mahdi AlMuhandes were in the convoy hit by the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad airport Iraq.”
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) January 3, 2020
Hashem later noted that Iraqi state media reportedly confirmed the news with a PMU source.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella grouping of Iran-backed militias, told Reuters.
“The attack appears to have been an airstrike that hit two vehicles,” The New York Times reported. “The strike was the second attack at the airport within hours. An earlier attack, late Thursday, involved three rockets that did not appear to have caused any injuries.”
The United States State Department released the following information about the Qods Force, which is a terrorist organization that Qassem Suleimani was in charge of:
- The IRGC—most prominently through its Qods Force—has the greatest role among Iran’s actors in directing and carrying out a global terrorist campaign.
- In recent years, IRGC Qods Force terrorist planning has been uncovered and disrupted in many countries, including Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kenya, Bahrain, and Turkey.
- The IRGC Qods Force in 2011 plotted a brazen terrorist attack against the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. on American soil. Fortunately, this plot was foiled.
- In September 2018, a U.S. federal court found Iran and the IRGC liable for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing which killed 19 Americans.
- In 2012, IRGC Qods Force operatives were arrested in Turkey for plotting an attack and in Kenya for planning a bombing.
- In January 2018, Germany uncovered ten IRGC operatives involved in a terrorist plot in Germany, and convicted another IRGC operative for surveilling a German-Israeli group.
Numerous analysts said that the airstrike killing the two leaders was greater than the killing of bin Laden and al-Baghdadi.
AJC Global analyst Julie Lenarz tweeted: “If you multiply the death of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi you begin to understand the significance of Soleimani’s death. This man controlled the most powerful state-controlled army of terror.”
If you multiply the death of Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi you begin to understand the significance of Soleimani’s death.
This man controlled the most powerful state-controlled army of terror.
— Julie Lenarz (@MsJulieLenarz) January 3, 2020
Free Beacon writer Noah Pollak wrote: “If this is true, and I hope it is, it’s a bigger deal for the Middle East than the bin Laden raid or the killing of Mughniyeh in 2008. A much, much bigger deal.”
If this is true, and I hope it is, it's a bigger deal for the Middle East than the bin Laden raid or the killing of Mughniyeh in 2008. A much, much bigger deal. https://t.co/pKrhBCbOvM
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) January 3, 2020
The National Washington Correspondent Joyce Karam tweeted, “Hard to understate how big this is • Qassem Suleimani is Iran’s most powerful mil figure in Region • He runs Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq • Both men designated by US as Terrorist • Muhandis was at US embassy attack protest, calls himself ‘Suleimani soldier.'”
Hard to understate how big this is
• Qassem Suleimani is Iran’s most powerful mil figure in Region
• He runs Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq
• Both men designated by US as Terrorist
• Muhandis was at US embassy attack protest, calls himself “Suleimani soldier”
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) January 3, 2020
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