The United States carried out an airstrike in Baghdad, Iraq in the early hours of Friday in order to “protect US personnel abroad”. As a result of the strike, several people were killed including Iranian top military leader Qasem Soleimani.
The United States has taken all measures at its disposal to fortify its assets in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News hours after a US-led airstrike in Baghdad that saw the Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani killed.
Addressing the general’s killing, Pompeo said that the move was absolutely legal, adding that he could only confirm that Qasem Soleimani had been killed in the strike.
He also said the United States is not seeking a military conflict with Iran and is committed to de-escalation. Washington, however, cannot stay idle when American lives are put at risk, he added.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon targeted facilities of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Iraqi Shia paramilitary group that is part of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, in Iraq and Syria for allegedly launching a rocket attack on a base in Kirkuk, which killed a US contractor.
This action prompted Shia protesters to storm the gates of the US Embassy in Baghdad.
The US blamed Iran for allegedly masterminding the attacks on the US Embassy in Iraq, a claim that Tehran flatly denied.
However, tensions escalated on Friday, when the US carried out airstrikes killing Iranian top military general Qasem Soleimani among others. Iran vowed to retaliate for the attack.