WATCH | The Iranian plan that Qassem Soleimani's death thwarted

2020-01-04 20:59
A Hamas policeman in Gaza City stands guard during a mourning ceremony organised in honour of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) killed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in a US air strike a day earlier, on January 4, 2020.

A Hamas policeman in Gaza City stands guard during a mourning ceremony organised in honour of slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) killed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in a US air strike a day earlier, on January 4, 2020. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

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In mid-October, Iran's general Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi’ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River.

Reuters sources are detailing what specifically was orchestrated there, and how it prompted the U.S. air strike that killed him. Watch the video above.

The killing of Soleimani on Friday was the most dramatic escalation yet in spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States, which pledged to send thousands more troops to the region, amid fears of a regional proxy war between the foes.

In the first hints of a possible retaliatory response, mortar rounds hit an area near the US embassy in Baghdad on Saturday, security sources told AFP.

Moments later, two rockets slammed into an Iraqi base where American troops are deployed, security sources said.

The Iraqi military confirmed the missile attacks in Baghdad and on Balad base and said there were no casualties.

READ | ANC slams 'inhumane' US airstrikes in Iran, labels it 'international terrorism'

On Saturday, Iraqi political leaders and clerics attended the mass ceremony to honour 62-year-old Soleimani and the other nine victims of the hit on Baghdad airport.

Tens of thousands of mourners across the country waved white Hashed flags and massive portraits of Iranian and Iraqi leaders, furiously calling for "revenge" and "Death to America!"

As head of the Guards' foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Soleimani was a powerful figure domestically and oversaw Iran's wide-ranging interventions in regional power struggles.

He had long been considered a lethal foe by Washington, with US President Donald Trump saying he should have been killed "many years ago".

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised "severe revenge" for Soleimani's death and Tehran named Soleimani's deputy, Esmail Qaani, to succeed him.

- additional reporting by AFP

Read more on:    united states  |  iran  |  iraq
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