WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posted a video on Twitter Thursday he said showed Iraqis “dancing in the street” after the United States killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.
“Iraqis – Iraqis – dancing in the street for freedom; thankful that General Soleimani is no more,” Pompeo wrote, alongside footage of scores of people running along a road and waving what appeared to be Iraqi flags and other banners.
President Donald Trump ordered the killing of the Iran Revolutionary Guards commander, who died Friday “in a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel abroad,” the Pentagon said.
“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region,” the Department of Defence said in a statement.
“General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
Pompeo did not provide a source for the video or offer any details about where the images were filmed.
The strike at Baghdad’s international airport also killed the deputy chief of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force.
A pro-Iran mob this week laid siege to the US embassy following deadly American airstrikes on a hardline Hashed faction.
The US had called the strikes in response to a rocket attack days earlier that killed an American contractor working in Iraq.
The Pentagon said Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the past months, including on Dec 27, the day the contractor was killed.
“General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the US Embassy in Baghdad that took place this week,” it said.