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  • The U.S. killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, in an air strike near Baghdad airport, the Pentagon and Iran said
  • Iranian authorities have reacted with predictable vehemence at Gen. Soleimani’s “martyrdom” and vowed vengeance. This tit­ for tat between the U.S. and Iran could easily go out of hand and lead to a major confrontation in a pyretic and fragile region, with unpredictable consequences.
An influential commander 
• General Qassem 
Soleimani, who was killed 
on Friday in a U.S. air strike 
in Baghdad, was the 
commander of the Quds 
Force, the external 
operations wing of Iran's 
elite Islamic Revolutionary 
Guard corps (IRGC) 
• For over 20 years, Soleimani directed 
Iran's foreign operations, which included 
building networks and proxies across West 
Asia that extended Iran's influence across 
its borders 
• The pro-Iran Shia militias that were 
formed under Soleimani's watch played 
key roles in the Syrian civil war and the war 
against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria 
• In April last year. the U.S. designated the 
IRGC as a "terrorist" group and blacklisted 
the Quds Force 
• On Friday. the U.S. said the air strikes on 
the Quds Force chief was carried out on 
orders of President Donald Trump
Road to 
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. 
nave been steadily escalating with 
Washington tightening sanctions, 
Tehran resuming activity 
and a series of incidents in the 
flashpoint Gulf 
The trigger 
May 8.2018: President Donald 
Trump unilaterally pulls the U.S. 
out Of the Iran nuclear deal. 
Announces sanctions on Iran 
On April 8, 2019; Washington 
declares Iran's Revolutionary Guard 
Corps a "terrorist" group. Its Quds 
Which operates abroad, is 
also put on the blacklist 
Attacks on ships 
May 12; Four Ships, including 
three Oil tankers. are damaged in 
mysterious attacks in the Gulf that 
the U.S. blames on Iran 
June 13: Two tankers, Norwegian 
and Japanese, Come under attack in 
the Gulf of Oman 
U.S. shot down 
June 20; Iran's Revolutionary 
Guard says it shot down a U.S. 
drone. which violated Iranian 
airspace near the Strait of Hormuz 
• Trump approves a retaliatory 
strike. but cancels it at the last 
June 24: Trump announces 
"hard-hitting" financial sanctions 
on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and 
senior Iranian military leaders 
July 18; Trump says the US. 
military has taken down an Iranian 
drone that came dangerously 
Close to one Of its naval vessels in 
the Strait of Hormuz
Saudi Oil attack 
September 14: Aerial attacks 
claimed by Yemen's Iran- 
backed Hauthi rebels spark 
fires at two major Saudi oil 
• Tehran is accused by the 
U.S. and Other powers Of 
being responsible but denies 
September 20; Trump 
announces "the highest 
sanctions ever imposed on a 
Country", hitting Iran'S 
central bank 
Killing the 
December 29: 
The U.S. carries 
Out air strikes 
against bases 
of a pro-Iran 
group •n Iraq. •n 
retaliation for an 
attack on U.S. 
: Pro-Iran 
protesters storm 
the U.S. Embassy 
in Baghdad 
expressing fury 
over the strikes 
'an. 3. 2020: 
A U.S. strike 
kills commander 
Soleimani. the 
Quds Force 
chief, in Iraq 
pentagon Says 
Trump ordered 
the "killing" 
after the siege 
Of the 
in Baghdad 
Jan. 2: Soleimani and the deputy 
commander of Iran-backed militias 
•n Iraq killed in airstrike at Baghdad's 
international airport 
'l Ile US. act of terror• 
ism is exnvmly dan- 
Dec. 31: U.S. Embassy 
breached by 
Iran -backed militias 
'Ille killing of 
Soleimani risks 
gemus. 'l lie US. bears 
all consequene 
es of 
of violence 

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