Pres. Trump: Iranian general killed “to stop a war”
Palm Beach, Fla. — President Donald Trump, making his first comments on Thursday night’s air strike in Iraq that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, said Soleimani was killed “to stop a war, not to start one.”
Speaking from prepared remarks, the President said the general was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks.”
He said that Gen. Qassem Soleimani “made the death of innocent people his sick passion,” and should have been hunted down years ago.
“We caught him in the act and terminated him,” said Mr. Trump.
In his prepared remarks, President Trump also said he is not seeking regime change in Iran, but the nation’s use of “proxy fighters to destabilize its neighbors must end and it must end now.”
Iran’s government has vowed “harsh retaliation” for Soleimani’s death.
But President Trump said targets of possible retaliation have been identified, adding that the United States is ready and prepared “to take whatever action is necessary.”
The Pentagon is taking quick action to reinforce the American military presence in the Middle East in preparation for reprisals.
As part of that, the U.S. is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast, and it’s placed a brigade in Italy on alert to fly to Beirut if needed to protect the embassy there.