Donald Trump says ‘reign of terror’ is over after Iranian general killed
The US president said the ‘termination’ of General Qassem Soleimani was to stop a war not to start a war.
President Donald Trump has declared that a “reign of terror is over” as he marked the death of an Iranian general killed in a US strike and as the Pentagon scrambled to reinforce the US military presence in the Middle East in preparation for reprisals.
General Qassem Soleimani “made the death of innocent people his sick passion”, Mr Trump said from his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, adding “a lot of lives would have been saved” if he had been hunted down years ago.
Mr Trump said the Iranian general was plotting “imminent and sinister attacks” and added: “We caught him in the act and terminated him.”
The US president said: “We took action last night to stop a war.
“We did not take action to start a war.”
Mr Trump said the US was not seeking regime change in Iran, but claimed the world was a safer place without “monsters” such as Gen Soleimani.
He said: “If Americans anywhere are threatened we have all of those targets fully identified and I am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary, and that particularly refers to Iran.”
The United States is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast in the volatile aftermath of the killing ordered by Mr Trump, defence officials said.
Also Friday, the Pentagon placed an Army brigade in Italy on alert to fly into Lebanon if needed to protect the American Embassy there, part of a series of military moves to protect US interests in the Middle East.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official said the US could send 130 to more than 700 troops to Beirut from Italy.
Reinforcements were ordered as US officials said they had compelling intelligence that Gen Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force who was killed in the US strike, was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States.