President Trump disclosed that top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was the target of a U.S. strike last week because he was devising a plan to blow up an American embassy.
The president revealed details behind the strike, which occurred last week near Baghdad International Airport, at a press conference on Thursday, where he announced the proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations.
“We caught a total monster, and we took him out, and that should have happened a long time ago,” the president stated. “We did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy. We also did it for other reasons that were very obvious. Somebody died, one of our military people died. People were badly wounded just the week before. And we did it. And we had a shot at him, and I took it, and that shot was pinpoint accurate, and that was the end of a monster.”
Following the strike that killed Soleimani, the Pentagon released a statement accusing Soleimani of “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” but it did not specify what those plans could be.
The Pentagon also said the strike was in part due to Soleimani’s role in “attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”
Iran responded to the killing of Soleimani by attacking two U.S.-Iraqi air bases with more than a dozen ballistic missiles on Tuesday night. There were no casualties in their retaliatory strikes. Trump announced that the United States would not be militarily responding to Iran’s missile fire. Instead, Trump called for “a deal with Iran that makes the world a safer and more peaceful place.”