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 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
According to the Pentagon, General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.
Last Friday, the Iranian-backed militia Kata’ib Hizbollah or KH launched yet another attack against American forces in Iraq, resulting in the death of one American civilian, and injuries to four American service members, as well as two of our partners in the Iraqi Security Forces. This continues a string of attacks against bases with U.S. forces and Iraqi Security Forces. KH has a strong linkage to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and has received lethal aid, support, and direction from Iran.
In response to the recent attack, 750 soldiers were deployed to the region immediately, and additional forces are prepared to deploy over the next several days.
“This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against U.S. personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.” Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper stated.
In response, a former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohsen Rezaei declared:
“He joined his martyred brothers, but we will take vigorous revenge on America,” Rezaei said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is working with NYPD to determine steps to protect key locations in the city following U.S. airstrikes that killed Soleimani