Editor’s note: The editorial board at FRN stands with the international community in denouncing the ongoing illegal presence of the U.S in Iraq, and its unauthorized airstrikes on Iranian forces operating in Iraq at Iraq’s expressed and non-coerced invitation. We furthermore express grave concerns that the reckless actions of the US ‘deep-state’ and the ruling class, et al, which has now more than several times used the spectre of impeachment to force the US president’s hand to act militarily in the middle-east, will lead to a more open conflict which jeopardizes the lives of innocent millions. Qassem Soleimani worked tirelessly to eradicate terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and his leadership proved invaluable in the liberation of countless Syrian and Iraqi villages and towns from ISIS and Al Qaeda. Rest in Power, Soleimani.
Soleimani was a warrior and a political soldier, and would have chosen no other way to pass onto the great beyond than this heroic martyrdom, for which besides his life’s work, he will always be remembered.
- J. Flores, editor FRN
BAGHDAD, Iraq – (PressTV) Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), have been killed in US airstrikes in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, media reports say.
“The deputy head of the Hashed, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and head of the Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, were killed in a US strike that targeted their car on the Baghdad International Airport road,” Iraqi media quoted the Iraqi pro-government group as saying in a statement on Friday.
“The American and Israeli enemy is responsible for killing the mujahideen Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Qassem Soleimani,” said Ahmed al-Assadi, a PMU spokesman.
The group had earlier said that its public relations director Mohammed Reza al-Jaberi and four other members of the group were also killed after three Katyusha rockets struck a military base next to Baghdad International Airport in the Iraqi capital.
The media bureau of the voluntary forces – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Shabai – described the early Friday morning attack as a “cowardly US bombing”.
The rockets landed near the air cargo terminal, burning two vehicles and injuring several people, the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Security Media Cell said in an earlier statement.
سقوط 3 صواريخ كاتيوشا على مطار بغداد الدولي قرب صالة الشحن الجوي ادى الى احتراق عجلتين اثنين واصابة عدد من المواطنيين وسنوافيكم التفاصيل لاحقاً.
— خلية الإعلام الأمني?? (@SecMedCell) January 2, 2020
Shortly after the attack, US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the strikes were carried out against two targets linked to Iran in Baghdad. The officials declined to give any further details.
Meanwhile, security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that eight people were killed in the attack.
The development came as the United States military said on Sunday it had carried out strikes in western Iraq against Kataib Hezbollah group, which is part of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi.
Iraqi security sources said at least 25 fighters were killed and at least 55 wounded following the air attacks.
Senior Iraqi officials also condemned the US attack against the Kataib Hezbollah’s positions as a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty”.
Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi called the move a “dangerous escalation that threatens the security of Iraq and the region” in a statement on Sunday.