Trump on Soleimani strike: 'His reign of terror is over'

President Donald Trump makes a statement on Iran at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on Jan. 3, 2020. Copyright Jim Watson AFP - Getty Images
Copyright Jim Watson AFP - Getty Images
By Dareh Gregorian with NBC News Politics
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Trump made the comments a day after ordering the airstrike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.


President Donald Trump, in his first comments since he ordered the drone attack that killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, said Friday that the general's decades-long campaign of terror across the globe has finally been ended.

In brief remarks at his Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida, Trump said Soleimani, who commanded Iran's Quds Force, had been caught "in the act" planning "imminent and sinister" attacks on U.S. diplomats and the military.

"We caught him in the act and terminated him," Trump said in a brief address, adding, "His reign of terror is over."

Trump had tweeted about Soleimani earlier in the day.

"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," Trump wrote ina series of tweets.

"Over the last 15 years, Iran has gained more ... and more control over Iraq, and the people of Iraq are not happy with that. It will never end well!"

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded on Twitter, writing, "The great nation of Iran will take revenge for this heinous crime."

The strike came amid escalating tensions between the Trump administration and Tehran over rocket attacks aimed at coalition forces in Iraq. U.S. officials have said those attacks were likely carried out by Iranian-backed militias with links to Soleimani's Quds force.

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