The commander of Iran’s Quds Force and a senior official in Iraq’s paramilitary forces have been killed by “shelling” targeting their vehicle at Baghdad International Airport, reports said.
General Qassem Suleimani, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Quds Force unit, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), were among those killed in the attack early Friday, January 03.
US officials told Reuters news agency they had carried out strikes against targets linked to Iran but gave no further details.
The Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, told Reuters that Gen. Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis had been killed.
Rockets hit two vehicles belonging to the PMF, a PMF source and an Iraqi security source told CNN. The head of protocol of the PMF was also killed, a source at the PMF told Iraqiya TV.
As yet there has been no official confirmation of a death or a US attack.
Earlier reports suggested a number of people died after a rocket strike at Baghdad’s international airport.
The strike comes days after protesters surrounded the US embassy in Baghdad, clashing with US forces at the scene.
US defence secretary Mark Esper said late on Thursday that the US would not accept attacks against its personnel in the region, blaming Iran for the violence at the embassy.
“Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner, and place of our choosing,” a statement read. “We urge the Iranian regime to end their malign activities.” (Source: BBC)