WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Friday said that the top Iranian commander killed in a US air strike, Qassem Soleimani, was planning to kill 'many more' Americans.
"General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more," Trump wrote in a tweet.
"While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country," said the US president.
"He should have been taken out many years ago!," he stated.
....of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself. While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country. They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2020
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also said that Soleimani was planning imminent action that threatened American citizens when he was killed in a US strike.
US Congress not told ahead of Soleimani killing
Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' foreign operations arm, was killed by US forces in an air raid on Baghdad international airport.
"He was actively plotting in the region to take actions— a big action, as he described it— that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk," Pompeo told CNN.
"We know it was imminent," Pompeo said of Soleimani's plot, without going into detail about the nature of the planned operation.
"This was an intelligence-based assessment that drove our decision-making process," Pompeo added.