WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Friday defended the killing of Iran top general claiming Qasem Soleimani has contributed to "terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London" and that the "his reign of terror is over".
"The recent attacks on US targets in Iraq, including rocket strikes that killed an American and injured four American servicemen very badly, as well as a violent assault on our embassy in Baghdad, were carried out at the direction of Soleimani,” Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
"Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London. Today we remember and honour the victims of Soleimani's many atrocities and we take comfort in knowing that his reign of terror is over,” he said.
General Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite al-Quds force and architect of its regional security apparatus, was killed following a US airstrike at Baghdad's international airport on Friday. The strike also killed the deputy chief of Iraq's powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.
Trump also said that Soleimani's killing will not lead to war.
"We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war. I have deep respect for the Iranian people. They are a remarkable people with an incredible heritage and unlimited potential. We do not seek regime change,” Trump said.