Iran's Most Powerful Military Commander Killed In US Air Strike In Baghdad

Iran's most powerful military commander was killed in U.S. air strike, escalating tensions in the Middle East. General Qasem Soleimani, who was the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, was killed in a strike directed by President Donald Trump near the Baghdad international airport Thursday. Oil price increased by around 3 percent after the incident. Top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was an adviser to Soleimani and a close Iraqi ally, also was killed in the attack that the Pentagon described as a decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad. The U.S. Defense Department said in a statement that General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. This strike was aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans," according to the Pentagon. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to take 'severe revenge' over the 62-year-old General's killing. He also announced three days of national mourning. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the U.S. bears responsibility for "all consequences of its rogue adventurism". "The US' act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani — the most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al — is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation." he said on Twitter. President Donald Trump did not comment on the elimination of the most influential Iranian military figure in the Middle East, but tweeted a picture of a big American flag. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. 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, according to the DOD. It alleged that he had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months - including the attack on December 27, in which a U.S. civilian contractor was killed. The Defense Department believes it was General Soleimani who approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week by the Iran-backed militiamen.