Baghdad International Airport airstrike

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On 3 January 2020, the United States launched an airstrike against a convoy traveling near Baghdad International Airport that was carrying several passengers, including Iranian Major General and IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.


Main articles: 2019 K-1 Air Base attack, December 2019 United States airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, and Attack on the United States embassy in Baghdad

The United States intervened in Iraq in 2014 as a part of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the United States–led mission to degrade and combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terror organization, and have been training and operating alongside Iraqi forces as a part of the anti-ISIL coalition. ISIL was largely beaten back from Iraq in 2017 during the Iraqi Civil War, with the help of primarily Iran-backed Shia militias—Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), reporting to the Iraqi prime minister since 2016—and the United States-backed Iraqi Armed Forces.

Tensions rose between Iran and the United States in 2018 when United States President, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions against Iran,[4] which "led to a sharp downturn in Iran's economy". In the ensuing 2019–2020 Persian Gulf crisis, attacks on several oil tankers and on Saudi oil fields were considered by Western powers to be among Iran's responses to the sanctions, although Iran denied responsibility.

December 2019

On 27 December 2019, the K-1 Air Base in Kirkuk province, Iraq—one of many Iraqi military bases that host Operation Inherent Resolve coalition personnel—was attacked by more than 30 rockets, killing a United States civilian contractor and injuring four United States service members and two Iraqi security forces personnel. The United States blamed the Iranian-backed Kata'ib Hezbollah militia for the attack.

A senior United States official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said there had been a campaign of 11 attacks on Iraqi bases hosting OIR personnel in the two months before 27 December incident, many of which the United States attributed to Kata'ib Hezbollah.

On 29 December 2019, US airstrikes on Kata'ib Hezbollah's headquarters killed 25 militia members.

On 31 December 2019, after a funeral was held for the Kata'ib Hezbollah militiamen that were killed by the prior American airstrikes, an angry mob of dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters marched through the perimeters of Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone and surrounded the United States embassy compound. According to the Associated Press, the Iraqi Security Forces did not attempt to stop the mob and permitted them to pass a security checkpoint. Dozens of the demonstrators then smashed through a main door of the checkpoint, set fire to the reception area, raised Popular Mobilization Units militia flags, left anti-American posters, and sprayed anti-American graffiti.

United States president Donald Trump accused Iran of orchestrating the attack on the embassy and added that they would be held "fully responsible". Iran's foreign ministry denied they were behind the protests at the U.S. embassy and warned against any retaliation. Supreme leader of Iran Ali Khameini tweeted "If Iran wants to fight a country, it will strike directly." Eric Trump made a suggestive tweet foreshadowing 3 January attacks, then deleted it afterward.


Iranian Major General and IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Units militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a US airstrike on 3 January 2020 while traveling in a convoy on an access road near Baghdad International Airport.[22] Several missiles fired from a drone struck the convoy and at least seven people are thought to have died. According to Ayatollah Ali Sistani's office, among them were several commanders who defeated Islamic State terrorists.

The United States Department of Defense issued a statement that said the American strike was carried out "at the direction of the president" and was meant to deter future attacks. He asserted that Soleimani had been planning further attacks on American diplomats and military personnel and had approved the attacks on the American embassy in Baghdad.

Soleimani's body was identified using a ring he wore on his finger. DNA results regarding the identification of the victims is still pending, however a senior Pentagon official stated that there was "high probability" that Soleimani is identified. PMU spokesman Ahmed al-Assadi confirmed both of their deaths to Reuters.


Soleimani's death has raised tensions between the United States and Iran. A spokesman for the Iranian government said the country's top security body would hold an extraordinary meeting shortly to discuss the "criminal act of attack".

Global oil prices soared more than four percent in the wake of the strike, pushing oil stocks (of BP and Royal Dutch Shell) on the London stock exchange higher. U.S. equity futures and Asian stocks reversed their gains for the day and investors moved towards "safe haven" assets such as gold, treasury bonds, and the Japanese Yen.

In the wake of the attack, World War III became a trending topic on Twitter, as did Franz Ferdinand.

After the attack, on the night of 2 January 2020 (US time), several planes with U.S. service members took off from bases in the eastern United States. According to online plane tracking software, they traveled due east, with U.S. Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers concurrently taking off from RAF Mildenhall in the UK.

The US embassy in Baghdad urged Americans to leave Iraq immediately "via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land." The French embassy in Tehran sent a Twitter message urging its citizens to stay away from public gatherings and to behave with prudence and discretion and abstain from taking pictures in public spaces.



Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared three days of mourning, and vowed to take "harsh revenge." President Hassan Rouhani also stated that Iran "will take revenge."[41] Former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaee posted that "[Soleimani] joined his martyred brothers, but we will take vigorous revenge on America."

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter that the attack was "an extremely dangerous and foolish escalation" and released a statement saying that "the brutality and stupidity of American terrorist forces in assassinating Commander Soleimani... will undoubtedly make the tree of resistance in the region and the world more prosperous."

United States

President Donald Trump tweeted pictures of the American flag shortly before the United States confirmed its responsibility for the attacks.[43] His first comment after the strike was a tweet: "Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!"

The political reaction fell along party lines, with Republican lawmakers praising the attack while democrats, while criticizing Soleimani, questioned the prudence of the attack.

United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said "the game has changed" and stated that the United States would preemptively strike Iranian-backed paramilitary groups in Iraq if there were indications they were preparing to attack American forces. He also urged the Iraqi government to resist Iranian influence. United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley emphasized that any group that attempted to overrun the Baghdad embassy will "run into a buzz saw".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted a video he said showed Iraqis celebrating Soleimani's death on the streets of Baghdad.

Former Vice President Joe Biden warned of further escalation and stated that Trump "just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox".[47] Senator Bernie Sanders made a statement saying "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars." Former National Security Advisor John Bolton made a tweet calling the airstrike "a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide...Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran."


Outgoing Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the attack, calling it an assassination and stating that the strike was an act of aggression and a breach of Iraqi sovereignty which would lead to war in Iraq. He said the strike violated the agreement on the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq and that safeguards for Iraq's security and sovereignty should be met with legislation. The media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces posted a photo of a destroyed vehicle on fire after the attack.

Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Sadrist Movement and the Saraya al-Salam militia, ordered his followers to "prepare to defend Iraq".

Other countries

China, India, and Pakistan urged restraint in the wake of the attack and the United Kingdom encouraged all involved parties to react with caution, saying "further conflict is in none of our interests." Germany advised that the Middle East has reached "a dangerous escalation point" and the conflict can only be resolved diplomatically. Turkey believes that the air strike increases insecurity and instability in the region and is deeply concerned by the rising tensions between the United States and Iran. France stated that its priority is to "stabilize the region", saying "we have woken up to a more dangerous world".

Syria condemned the air strike and Russia believed the incident will raise Middle East tensions.

Israel prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu praised the air strike, saying that Trump had “acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively.” He affirmed Israel's alliance with the U.S., saying “Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense.”

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    Name Born / Since / At Died Languages
    1Qasem SoleimaniQasem Soleimani11.03.195703.01.2020en, lv, ru
    2Abu Mahdi al-MuhandisAbu Mahdi al-Muhandis00.00.195403.01.2020en