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U.S. airstrike kills top Iranian general

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General Qassim Suleimani

Death could drastically escalate tensions

TEHRAN, Iran (KYMA, KSWT, KECY) - The Pentagon announced Thursday evening, the United States has killed a high-profile Iranian commander.

A statement from the Department of Defense says:

"At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qawem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization."

U.S. Department of Defense Statement

Suleimani was the iconic commander of Iran's military forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere in the Middle East. In the past, the U.S. credited his militias with combating ISIS in Iraq.

However, his Quds Force was widely believed to support a wide number of Iranian-backed terror groups, including Hezbollah.

The Pentagon says Suleimani was developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members both in Iraq, and across the region.

The Department of Defense addressed this theory in Thursday night's statement:

"This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans...The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world."

U.S. Department of Defense Statement

Suliemani's death will likely increase tensions between the U.S. and Iran, tensions already heightened by the New Year's attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad.

National-World / Top Stories

Lisa Sturgis

Lisa Sturgis recently returned to KYMA as its Digital Content Director, but she has a long history with the Desert Southwest.

Brandon Mejia

Brandon Mejia joins the news team as the evening anchor for KSWT. You can catch him weeknight at 6 and 10 p.m.

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