Facebook to remove pro-Soleimani content in compliance with U.S. sanctions

As commander of Iran's Quds force Soleimani was a key figure in Iran's long-standing campaign to drive US forces out of Iraq

The officials said a military air attack targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran's Islamic Republican Guard Corps but the mission was not successful.

The tensions between Iran and the U.S. escalated after the USA on January 3, hit Baghdad International Airport, following which deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and Iran's Quds forces chief Qassem Soleimani were killed.

Administration officials say Soleimani and the Quds Force, which is an arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, majority soldiers who were fighting in Iraq in the mid-2000s.

The Washington Post first reported the development. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement as quoted by the USA Today. Trump administration officials have justified the killing as an act of self-defence, saying he was planning military acts that threatened large numbers of USA military and diplomatic officials in the Middle East. Iran, however, called the attack an act of terrorism, and on Wednesday launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that house U.S. and coalition forces.

The United States had offered a $15 million reward for information about Shahlai.

The covert mission in Yemen, which was first reported Friday by The Washington Post, was directed at Abdul Reza Shahlai, a commander and financier whom the State Department says was at the center of the botched 2011 plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on USA soil.

Shahlai's base of operation is in Sana'a, Yemen, where he serves as the Quds Forces' chief financier backing Iran's Shiite proxy forces in the region, as well as funding assassination and terror plots, according to the State Department.

The failed mission against Shahlai suggests President Donald Trump envisioned a broader strike against the Quds Force in the Middle East, and not just Iraq.

Trump on Friday said Iran probably had targeted the United States embassy in Baghdad and was aiming to attack four USA embassies.

The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration's killing of Maj. A counter-terrorism official and a USA official told CBS News the same information. In a statement released after the killing, the USA said it had targeted Soleimani because the Iranian general was involved in the killing of several U.S. troops in the region.

'The United States will continue to counter the Iranian regime's destructive and destabilizing behavior, ' he said.

But Trump and his administration faced continuing questions over its claims of an "imminent" threat as justification for killing Soleimani. Members of Congress said officials did not provide sufficient detail or justification in briefings this week.



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