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The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The United States Pentagon confirmed Thursday, Jan. 2, reports that Gen. Qasem Soleimani, top commander of Iran, had been killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Soleimani served as the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force, which was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. The United States Department of Defense released a statement saying the attack, at the direction of President Donald Trump, was a decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad.

“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the statement said. “General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.

“He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months — including the attack on Dec. 27 — culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”

The attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad lasted a total of two days and prompted President Trump to deploy approximately 750 U.S. soldiers.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden released a statement today regarding the airstrike, citing his concerns of possible retaliation from Iranian forces.

“Qassem Soleimani was a bad man with a lot of blood on his hands, but Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate him was a reckless escalation that will take us further down the road to ruinous war,” Wyden said. “A president has the responsibility to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to protect vulnerable American military and civilian targets before taking such a precipitous act.

“Given Trump’s awful record on foreign policy I’m extremely concerned that he has not prepared for the fallout, which could put more American lives at risk.”

The Associated Press reported that oil prices have skyrocketed since the report of the airstrike, up nearly four percent.

President Trump reiterated the statement made by the U.S. Department of Defense today at a brief television press conference at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, stating Soleimani was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks.”

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said. “We did not take action to start a war.”

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