New Delhi: US President Donald Trump Friday night recounted to his Republican party donors the last moments of powerful Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike, along with seven others, at Baghdad Airport on January 3.
Trump delivered the account at his Flordia residence Mar-a-Lago during a fundraiser dinner, US media reported.
CNN on Saturday played an audio recording of Trump narrating to his guests the account of final moments of Soleimani, whose killing led to retaliation by Iran and briefly triggered fears of armed conflict between the two sides, possibly leading to the Third World War.
In the audio, Trump is heard saying that Soleimani was supposed to be invincible. “He was saying bad things about our country. He was saying things like, ‘We’re going to attack your country and kill your people.’ I said, ‘Look, how much of this do we have to listen to?” Trump is heard narrating in the CNN audio.
He then goes on to quote the military officials who were giving him live updates in Washington. “They said, ‘Sir, and this is from, you know, cameras that are miles in the sky. They are together sir. Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. They have two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car. They’re in an armoured vehicle going. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds, ten, nine, eight…then all of a sudden boom. They’re gone, sir,” Trump recounts in the audio.
Trump also admitted that the strike ‘shook up the world’ but justified it saying that Soleimani ‘deserved to be hit hard’ because he was responsible for killing ‘thousands of Americans.’
The Iran-US skirmishes also led to an accidental shooting down of a Ukranian passenger airliner at Tehran Airport earlier this month, killing all 176 people on board. While initially the crash was attributed to a ‘technical failure,’ Iran later admitted that its military ‘accidentally shot down the plane.‘