Rockets fired after day of mourning for slain Iranian leader

US cities on high alert after Iran strike

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thousands of militiamen and other supporters chanting “America is the Great Satan” marched in a funeral procession in Baghdad for Iran’s top general, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

The region braced for Iran to fulfill its vows to avenge the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, but it was unclear when or how it might respond.

Soleimani was killed Friday alongside senior Iraqi militants near Baghdad’s airport.

A series of rockets fell inside or near the Green Zone following the day of mourning.

As the region awaits Iran’s response, all eyes are on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

President Donald Trump may have upended a central element of his foreign policy with a single drone strike.

The Friday strike that killed the most prominent Iranian general may have ended any chance that he would get the United States out of the “endless wars” in the Middle East that he has railed against since taking office.

The killing has the world bracing for a possible retaliation, with many fearing it could lead to a wider conflict.

President Donald Trump speaks at the launch of the Evangelicals for Trump coalition in Miami on Friday. Despite pledges of getting the U.S. out of 'endless wars,' the air strike that killed an Iranian general threatens a larger conflict.
President Donald Trump speaks at the launch of the Evangelicals for Trump coalition in Miami on Friday. Despite pledges of getting the U.S. out of 'endless wars,' the air strike that killed an Iranian general threatens a larger conflict. (Source: CNN)

Soleimani was the mastermind of Iran’s regional security strategy, and was killed Friday alongside senior Iraqi militants near Baghdad’s airport.

As the region awaits Iran’s response, all eyes are on Iraq, where America and Iran have competed for influence since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Trump says Soleimani had a “sick passion” for killing people, and says after a U.S. drone strike hit his vehicle in Baghdad early Friday, “his reign of terror is over.”

The U.S. is sending nearly 3,000 more combat troops to Kuwait as reinforcements, and paratroopers based in Italy are on alert for possible deployment to protect the American Embassy in Beirut.

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers deployed Saturday morning from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The wife of one soldier who recently deployed said that his departure was so abrupt she didn’t have the chance to say goodbye in person or by phone.

War protest held in Washington, D.C.

The U.S.-led coalition says it has boosted security measures at Iraqi bases housing coalition forces.

The tensions are rooted in the U.S. decision in May 2018 to withdraw from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and impose “maximum” sanctions on Tehran.

Trump is not the first American leader to have Soleimani in his sights, but he was the first to pull the trigger.

As on a range of other national security matters, he cast aside the same warnings that gave his predecessors in both parties pause. It’s a pattern that has emerged throughout Trump’s presidency.

At times, he has simply been willing to embrace more risk. In other moments, he has questioned the validity of the warnings altogether, even from experts within his own administration. And he has publicly taken pride in doing so.

Previous presidents have considered whether to target Soleimani and decided against it. Trump’s decision is a sharp departure from the previous two administrations.

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The Bush and Obama administrations both weighed striking Soleimani but decided the risks were too high.

Officials said they were concerned about Iranian retaliation and also worried that killing Soleimani wouldn’t have an effect on Iran’s regional provocations and support for terror groups.

Trump said Friday that Soleimani should have been taken out years ago.

Meanwhile, Esmail Ghaani is now responsible for Tehran’s proxies across the Mideast as the Islamic Republic threatens the U.S. with “harsh revenge” for killing Soleimani.

While much still remains unknown about the 62-year-old Ghaani, Western sanctions suggest he’s long been in a position of power in the organization.

Likely one of the new leader’s first duties will be to oversee whatever retaliation Iran intends to seek for the U.S. airstrike early Friday that killed his longtime friend Soleimani.

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