Washington: US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani, the White House said on Friday. Also Read - Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Iraqi Militia Commander Among 8 killed in Rocket Attack at Baghdad Airport

“At the direction of the President, the U.S. military has taken decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel abroad by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the White House said in a statement.

Prior to this, General Qassem Soleimani was killed alongside six others in an airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport on Thursday, reported Al Jazeera. In the attack, Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed.

Following the airstrike, Donald Trump also tweeted an image of the flag of the United States, without any description.

Notably, the attack comes days after an Iran-backed militia and other protesters attacked the United States’ Embassy in Baghdad. The US then vowed to take action against the breaching by protestors.

The attack on the embassy comes as a retaliation to a deadly US airstrike that killed at least 25 people of the PMF.

The Pentagon further said that Soleimani had approved the attacks the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.

“This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world,” the statement by the Pentagon read.