Qasem Soleimani[note 2] (Persian: قاسم سلیمانی, pronounced [ɢɒːˌsem solejˈmɒːniː]; 11 March 1957 – 3 January 2020) was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and, from 1998 until his death in 2020, commander of its Quds... Show More >>Qasem Soleimani[note 2] (Persian: قاسم سلیمانی, pronounced [ɢɒːˌsem solejˈmɒːniː]; 11 March 1957 – 3 January 2020) was an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and, from 1998 until his death in 2020, commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations. In his later years, he was considered by some to be the second most powerful person in Iran behind Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his right-hand man.
Soleimani was assassinated in a targeted U.S. drone strike on 3 January 2020 in Baghdad, which was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump. The strike was strongly condemned by some, including the Iranian government, and a multi-city funeral was held in Iraq and Iran for Soleimani and other casualties. Hours after his burial on 7 January 2020, the Iranian military launched missiles against U.S. bases in Iraq; while no lives were lost in the second attack, the Pentagon reported that 110 U.S. troops were wounded as a result.
Soleimani initially worked in construction before joining the Revolutionary Guards during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. He assembled and led a company of soldiers when the Iran–Iraq War began in 1980, rising through the ranks to become commander of the 41st Tharallah Division in his 20s. He was later involved in extraterritorial operations, and in the late 1990s became commander of the Quds Force. Following the September 11 attacks, Iranian diplomats under his direction cooperated with the U.S. to fight the Taliban. Soleimani also provided assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the government of Syria and its president, Bashar al-Assad, a key Iranian ally. He ran Iran\'s operations in the Syrian Civil War and helped to plan the Russian military intervention in Syria. Soleimani coordinated Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militia forces in Iraq, and assisted them during the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in 2014.
Soleimani was popular among many Iranians, with many viewing him as a \"selfless hero fighting Iran\'s enemies\", while others deemed him a \"murderer\". Soleimani was personally sanctioned by the United Nations and the European Union and was designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2005 Show Less >>
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