The US President, Donald Trump once again praised the last Friday’s drone strike by US forces on Baghdad’s airport, killing a top Iranian military leader, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds forces.
At the campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, Trump spent a lengthy part of his stump speech defending his order to kill Suleimani and rejecting criticism from Democrats who say he overstepped his authority with the US military’s drone strike against the commander of Iran’s military al-Quds force at Baghdad airport a week ago, Guardian reported.
He accused Suleimani of organizing violent protests by Iran-backed groups at the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this month. Trump, who frequently trumpets his support of the US military, said that if he had not sent US troops to protect the embassy, the demonstrators might have broken in and killed Americans or taken them hostage, a repeat of the 2011 storming of a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, in which the US ambassador was killed.
“Last week the United States once again took the bold and decisive action to save American lives and deliver American justice,” he said.
Trump’s appearance at the arena in Toledo was his first campaign rally of the 2020 election year, a sign of how critical the state is to his winning a second four-year term in office next November. Trump won Ohio in 2016 by 8 percentage points, flipping a state that had gone for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Trump and his top advisers have said Suleimani was masterminding “imminent” attacks against American targets in the Middle East, but have drawn criticism for not providing more detail to back up the claim.
“Suleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad, but we stopped him and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold,” Trump said.
Qassim Soleimani was a mastermind of Iran’s intelligence service who had established several Shiite militia groups and networks to fight for his country’s interest outside Iran’s border.
Following the death of Soleimani, Iran’s leaders warned the United States for an act of revenge.
Iran launched dozens of ballistic missiles on two military bases in Iraq, housing US forces on Wednesday morning; Iran immediately claimed they have killed at least 80 Americans, which was later refused by the US president, Donald Trump.