דונלד טראמפ מגיב על חיסולו של קאסם סולימאני בעירק
Donald Trump speaks about the killing of Qassem Soleimani
Photo: AP
Donald Trump speaks about the killing of Qassem Soleimani

Trump declares Iranian general's 'reign of terror' over

Qassem Soleimani 'made the death of innocent people his sick passion,' president says from Florida, adding 'a lot of lives would have been saved' if he'd been hunted down years ago; Pompeo defends strike as 'wholly lawful' as Quds Force commander posed 'imminent' threat

Associated Press |
Updated: 01.03.20 , 23:32
U.S. President Donald Trump declared Friday that a "reign of terror is over" as he marked the death of an Iranian general killed in a U.S. strike and as the Pentagon scrambled to reinforce the American military presence in the Middle East in preparation for reprisals.
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  • Gen. Qassem Soleimani "made the death of innocent people his sick passion,” Trump said from his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, adding "a lot of lives would have been saved" if he'd been hunted down years ago.
    דונלד טראמפ מגיב על חיסולו של קאסם סולימאני בעירקדונלד טראמפ מגיב על חיסולו של קאסם סולימאני בעירק
    Donald Trump speaks about the killing of Qassem Soleimani
    (Photo: AP)
    The strike marked a major escalation in the conflict between Washington and Iran, as Iran vowed "harsh retaliation" for the killing of the senior military leader.
    Speaking earlier Friday, Trump said that he ordered the killing of Soleimani because he was "plotting to kill" many Americans and that he should have been killed "years ago."
    In his first comments since the strike against the head of Iran's elite Quds Force early Friday, Trump said Soleimani was also responsible for killing and wounding "thousands" of Americans and many more in the region.
    טהרן איראן אבל על חיסולו של מפקד כוח קוס קאסם סולימאניטהרן איראן אבל על חיסולו של מפקד כוח קוס קאסם סולימאני
    Iranians in Tehran burn American and Israeli flags to protest the killing of Qassem Soleimani by the U.S.
    (Photo: EPA)
    "He should have been taken out many years ago," Trump tweeted from his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was vacationing.
    טהרן איראן אבל על חיסולו של מפקד כוח קוס קאסם סולימאניטהרן איראן אבל על חיסולו של מפקד כוח קוס קאסם סולימאני
    Iranians protest in Tehran over the killing of Qassem Soleimani by the U.S.
    (Photo: AP)
    The two nations have faced repeated crises since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions.
    The United States urged its citizens to leave Iraq "immediately" as fears mounted that the strike and any retaliation by Iran could ignite a conflict that engulfs the region.
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the strike as "wholly lawful," saying that Soleimani posed an "imminent" threat against the U.S. and its interests in the region.
    "There was an imminent attack," Pompeo told Fox News.
    "The orchestrator, the primary motivator for the attack, was Qassem Soleimani."
    The White House did not inform lawmakers before the strike. It was expected to give classified briefings to members of Congress and staff in the afternoon.
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the strike shortly before the Pentagon confirmed it publicly.
    Donald Trump Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    (Photo: AP)
    Pompeo called world leaders Friday to explain and defend Trump's decision to order the airstrike that has sparked fears of an explosion of anti-American protests as well as more violence in the already unstable Middle East.
    The State Department said Pompeo had spoken Friday with top officials in Afghanistan, Britain, China, France, Germany and Pakistan.
    In his calls with the British and German foreign ministers as well as China's state councilor, Pompeo stressed that Trump acted to counter an imminent threat to U.S. lives in the region but also that the U.S. is committed to "de-escalation" of tensions, according to the department's summaries of the conversations.
    קאסם סולימאני מפקד כוח קודס משנות ה-80 מלחמת איראן עיראקקאסם סולימאני מפקד כוח קודס משנות ה-80 מלחמת איראן עיראק
    Qassem Soleimani
    (Photo: MCT)
    De-escalation was not mentioned in the department's summary of his call with the French foreign minister, nor in his calls with Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani or the Pakistani military chief of staff.
    In those calls Pompeo "underscored the Iranian regime's destabilizing actions through the region and the Trump Administration's resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities and partners," the department said.
    Trump opted not to play a round of golf on Friday, and he was not expected to be seen publicly until he travels to Miami for an afternoon event for his reelection campaign.
    First published: 20:15 , 01.03.20
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