Trump on strike that killed Soleimani: 'We did not take action to start a war'

President Donald Trump said Friday that he authorized a recent precision strike against the commander of Iran's security and intelligence services because he was plotting 'imminent and sinister attacks' on Americans.

Posted: Jan 3, 2020 4:12 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2020 8:45 AM

President Donald Trump said Friday that he authorized a recent precision strike against the commander of Iran's security and intelligence services because he was plotting 'imminent and sinister attacks' on Americans.

'We caught him in the act and terminated him,' Trump said Friday, a day after the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani at a Baghdad airport.

Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate that Soleimani should have been taken out by his predecessors and cast his decision as one of deterrence rather than aggression.

'We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,' Trump said.

Though Trump on Friday sought to cast his decision to take out the leader of Iran's security and intelligence services as prevention of war, he continued to threaten Iran's leaders with further strikes should they continue with destabilizing actions in the region.

'We do not seek regime change,' Trump said, adding that Iran's use of proxy fights 'must end and it must end now.'

Trump boasted of US military might, and said the country has 'the best intelligence in the world.'

'If Americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified, and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary, and that in particular refers to Iran,' Trump said.

Following the drone strike, a US defense official also told CNN Friday that the US will deploy thousands of additional troops to the Middle East amid unrest over tensions with Iran following the US embassy protests and Soleimani's death.

The Pentagon has blamed Soleimani and his Quds Force for attacks on coalition bases in Iraq in recent months, including the December 27 strike that culminated in the deaths of an American contractor and Iraqi personnel. The Trump administration has also blamed him for the December 31 US embassy attack in Baghdad, and in addition to the hundreds killed in his time as a commander, thousands more were wounded, the Pentagon said.

The December 31 US embassy bombardment in Iraq followed US airstrikes on an Iranian-backed militia group.

'Imminent attacks'

Numerous Trump administration officials said Friday that the US launched the targeted strike against Soleimani to curtail such an imminent attack against US interests.

State Department special representative for Iran Brian Hook said that Soleimani was planning 'imminent attacks against American personnel and facilities in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and beyond.'

The administration has yet to provide any public evidence to support its assertion about the upcoming attack, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN that they'd do their best 'to release everything that we know that's appropriate, that we can, that doesn't put anyone at risk.'

When asked whether there is a risk now to US safety in the region, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley bluntly said, 'Damn right there is a risk.'

He also pushed back at assertions that the strike on Soleimani was impulsive.

'We fully comprehend the strategic risks and consequences,' of killing the Iranian military commander,' he said. 'The risk of inaction exceeded the risk of action.'

Three days of national mourning have been declared in Iran. Funeral processions will be held for Soleimani in both Iran and Iraq, Iranian state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51612

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12074693
Lake5650249
Elkhart361860
Allen2952134
St. Joseph214869
Hamilton1708101
Cass16459
Hendricks1466100
Johnson1345118
Porter84038
Tippecanoe7799
Vanderburgh7686
Clark71144
Madison67864
LaPorte62328
Howard60758
Bartholomew60145
Kosciusko5824
Marshall5579
Noble52028
Boone49144
LaGrange48610
Jackson4783
Delaware47552
Hancock46836
Shelby45925
Floyd41444
Monroe34828
Morgan34531
Grant32226
Dubois3096
Montgomery29820
Henry29618
Clinton2903
White27610
Dearborn26523
Warrick26129
Vigo2588
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Harrison21822
Greene19632
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1586
Daviess15117
Perry14910
Steuben1382
Orange13723
Jasper1362
Ripley1347
Franklin1288
Gibson1242
Wabash1163
Carroll1142
Starke1083
Whitley1076
Fayette1067
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells821
Randolph804
Fulton731
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush623
Posey610
Spencer571
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 65592

Reported Deaths: 3058
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12035447
Cuyahoga9208399
Hamilton6950208
Lucas3007306
Marion274839
Montgomery251336
Summit2351209
Pickaway222741
Mahoning1948239
Butler186347
Columbiana138560
Stark1225116
Lorain115269
Trumbull105378
Warren100926
Clark81610
Delaware72415
Fairfield69217
Lake60923
Tuscarawas60910
Medina58932
Licking58312
Belmont57024
Miami51031
Portage50260
Clermont4977
Wood49451
Ashtabula44844
Geauga42843
Richland3786
Wayne37355
Allen36641
Greene3469
Mercer30210
Erie28622
Holmes2615
Darke25926
Huron2472
Madison2229
Ottawa19324
Sandusky16915
Athens1671
Ross1483
Washington14620
Coshocton1424
Putnam14215
Crawford1415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Jefferson1152
Auglaize1114
Muskingum1041
Union1021
Preble911
Clinton892
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence860
Guernsey813
Hocking819
Williams762
Shelby754
Logan711
Scioto710
Carroll703
Ashland682
Fulton670
Brown631
Wyandot635
Champaign551
Fayette550
Knox551
Defiance543
Highland531
Van Wert491
Perry461
Seneca412
Henry350
Paulding320
Jackson300
Pike290
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia211
Harrison141
Noble140
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Van Wert
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Dry start to the work week
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events