Trump says Soleimani should have been ‘taken out many years ago’

WASHINGTON (Reuters): United States President Donald Trump said Friday that top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani “should have been taken out many years ago” as he was directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions.

The American president took to Twitter hours after Soleimani was killed in a US strike at an international airport in Baghdad, to say that the Iranian general should have been killed several years ago. The killing sparked tensions in Iran and Iraq with thousands shouting slogans against the US on the streets of Tehran and Ayatollah Khomeini promising vengeance against Washington.

The Pentagon had said US President Donald Trump had ordered Soleimani’s “killing” in ‘retaliation’ to a mob earlier this week besieging the US embassy in Baghdad.

In a series of tweets, Trump said Soleimani “was both both hated and feared within the country [Iran]” and was plotting to kill more people.

“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. 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!,” read the tweets from Trump.

The general’s death, confirmed by both Iran and the US, represents the most dramatic escalation between the two countries in recent history.

Leave Iraq ‘immediately’: US tells citizens as tensions flare with Iran
The State Department on Friday told US citizens to leave Iraq “immediately,” after an American strike killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, we urge US citizens to depart Iraq immediately,” the State Department tweeted. “Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the US Embassy compound, all consular operations are suspended. US citizens should not approach the Embassy.”