US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US airstrike that killed Qasem Soleimani was to disrupt an "imminent attack" from the top Iranian commander that could have cost American lives in the Middle East region.
"I can't talk too much about the nature of the threats. But the American people should know that the President's decision to remove Soleimani from the battlefield saved American lives," Pompeo said on CNN's "New Day" Friday.
Pompeo said Soleimani was "actively plotting" in the region to "take big action, as he described it, that would have put hundreds of lives at risk." He said that Americans "are safer in the region" after the strike and demise of Soleimani.
He stressed that a US intelligence community assessment had led to the strike.
"The risk of doing nothing was enormous. Intelligence community made that assessment and President Trump acted decisively last night," Pompeo told CNN's John Berman Friday.
Qassem Suleimani: chants of 'death to America' at Baghdad funeral
Thousands of mourners have marched in a funeral procession through Baghdad for Iran’s top general and Iraqi militant leaders who were killed in a US airstrike.
The bodies of Qassem Suleimani and others killed in the drone strike were taken on a funeral procession starting in Baghdad to chants of “death the America” on Saturday. Iranian officials said a public farewell was planned in Tehran on Sunday.
The procession began at the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad, one of the most revered sites in Shia Islam. Mourners marched in the streets alongside militia vehicles in a solemn procession.
The mourners, many of them in tears, chanted “no, no, America,” and “death to America, death to Israel.” Mohammed Fadl, a mourner dressed in black, said the funeral was an expression of loyalty to those killed. “It is a painful strike, but it will not shake us,” he said.
Two helicopters hovered over the procession, which was attended by Iraq’s prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and leaders of Iran-backed militias.
Fresh airstrikes against Iran-backed militias were reported in the Iraqi capital on Saturday morning as Iranian leaders declared Suleimani’s targeted assassination outside Baghdad airport on Friday morning “an act of war”.
CNN - The Guardian