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Trump Explains His Decision To Strike Iran’s Qasem Soleimani

(Photo by Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty Images)

Amber Athey White House Correspondent
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President Donald Trump explained in a series of tweets Friday why the U.S. opted to strike top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, accusing the general of plotting to kill Americans.

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday night that the U.S. was behind a drone strike that killed Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in Iraq. The president had yet to personally speak about the news last night, instead opting to tweet an image of an American flag. (RELATED: Pentagon Says Trump Ordered Airstrike That Killed Top Iranian General At Baghdad Airport)

It wasn’t until Friday morning that Trump explained his decision to order the strike.

“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught! He was directly and indirectly responsible for the death of millions of people, including the recent large number of PROTESTERS killed in Iran itself,” Trump tweeted. “While Iran will never be able to properly admit it, Soleimani was both hated and feared within the country.”

He continued, “They are not nearly as saddened as the leaders will let the outside world believe. He should have been taken out many years ago!”

The Pentagon claimed in its statement confirming the attack that Soleimani was drawing up plans to kill American diplomats and service members prior to his death, adding that he approved the recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

Protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week in retaliation for strikes on an Iran-backed militia group. The embassy was severely damaged and burned but no Americans were killed during the intrusion, and the U.S. diplomat to Iraq was successfully evacuated. The U.S. deployed 100 Marines to secure the embassy.

Trump opted to launch the airstrikes after an American contractor was killed by a rocket attack in Iraq.