• Gen Soleimani was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday
  • Following Soleimani’s killing, Trump, on a vacation in Florida, initially tweeted an image of the US flag

Washington: General Qassem Soleimani should have been eliminated many years ago as the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards killed and wounded thousands of Americans and was plotting to kill many more, US president Donald Trump said on Friday.

Gen Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed when a drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the Baghdad International Airport early on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force and some local Iran-backed militias.

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Soleimani, 62, was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. His Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the Ayatollah and he was hailed as a heroic national figure.

“General Qassem 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! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number….

“Of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!,” Trump tweeted, breaking his silence after he tweeted a picture of the US flag.

Following Soleimani’s killing, Trump, on a vacation in Florida, initially tweeted an image of the US flag.

Hours later, he tweeted again: “Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!”, in an apparent slight against the nuclear deal his predecessor Barack Obama negotiated with Tehran.

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